As you may recall from our previous blog, Kelley/Uustal attorneys
Eric Rosen and
Kimberly Wald recently obtained a
$28.795 million verdict for Alan Konzelman, the widower of Elaine Konzelman, who died at the age
of 79 of COPD after smoking cigarettes for most of her life. A Broward
jury decided against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company on the grounds that
the company’s deceptive marketing played a role in her death. The
verdict included $20 million in punitive damages as punishment for the
company’s years of efforts to conceal the health effects of smoking
while creating and promoting a more addictive product. Alan Konzelman
was awarded $8.5 million in compensatory damages, in addition to $295,000
for Elaine’s medical bills.
Rosen and Wald were able to successfully argue that Mrs. Konzelman’s
lifelong addiction was the product of R.J. Reynolds’ efforts to
hide the true health risks of cigarettes from its customers. While the
tobacco company attempted to argue that Mrs. Konzelman should have known
that she had COPD, Rosen and Wald proved that there was no way she could
have known what even her doctors did not diagnose until the mid-1990s.
This case was part of the Engle class, the group of Florida smokers whose
cases were filed after the Engle tobacco class action was disbanded by
the Florida Supreme Court in 2006.
Elaine Konzelman was found 15% liable for her disease. According to Rosen,
much of the jury’s decision came down to Alan Konzelman’s
testimony. "They got to hear about his family and the type of person
he was: hardworking, dedicated and genuine," Rosen said. "I
think that credibility was extremely important."
Click here to view the full text of the article via the
Daily Business Review.