Closing arguments continue in tobacco trial
MIAMI, April 3 (UPI) -- Closing arguments by the defense continued Monday in the penalty phase of the first class-action suit to go to trial against
the tobacco industry.
Once the lawyers for the tobacco industry finish their arguments, Stanley and Susan Rosenblatt, attorneys for the three primary plaintiffs, will offer
a rebuttal, most likely Tuesday. Circuit Judge Robert P. Kay will then charge the jury to begin deliberations.
The jury ruled in July that the industry has tried to mislead the public about the dangers of smoking.
The Rosenblatts said the plaintiffs decided to smoke because the tobacco industry withheld information about the dangers of cigarettes. Industry
lawyers, on the other hand, argued that the plaintiffs were fully aware of the dangers but smoked anyway.
Stanley Rosenblatt said in his closing arguments that his clients should get a total of $10 million to $14 million. After the jury decides on awards
for the three primary plaintiffs, it will decide on awards for the 500,000 parties to the class-action suit.
Estimates of the potential total award run up to $300 million, though an award of that size is unlikely, since Florida law forbids awards that are
big enough to send a defendant into bankruptcy.
The three plaintiffs are Mary Farnan, a nurse who has lung cancer that spread to her brain, Frank Amodeo, an Orlando clock-maker who has throat
cancer and has been fed intravenously since 1987 and the estate of Angie Della Vecchia of New Port Richey, who died of lung and brain cancer last
year, after the trial began.
The defendants are Phillip Morris Co., R.J.Reynolds Tobacco, Brown & Williamson Tobacco, Lorillard Tobacco, the Liggett Group and two related