New and noteworthy verdicts and settlements from around the country, selected by VerdictSearch editors. Find out about the case most relevant to your practice, with complete details on awards and settlements; injuries claimed; experts, attorneys, insurers and judges involved; and more.
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Find out about the most important recent Florida cases, selected by VerdictSearch editors. Coverage includes Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Pinellas counties.
Wife: Smoking caused husband's cancer, pre-mature death
A jury has awarded a former smoker's estate $34.6 million in a products liability case. Lawyers for retired U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Garry O'Hara, who died in 1996 at 50 from lung cancer, sued R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. for products liability and fraudulent concealment. Plaintiff's counsel claimed O'Hara began smoking as a teenager and that his addiction was so strong, when asked to smoke outside their home, O'Hara would do so -- even in rain/snow storms. The defense denied all allegations, argued O'Hara chose to smoke and could have quit, if he really committed himself to doing so. But the jury found Reynolds 88 percent liable, O'Hara 12 percent, with no reduction for comparative liability, due to an intentional tort finding.
Estate of O'Hara v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.
An $8.1 million award in auto, pedestrian crash that killed 2 Ph.D. students
A jury has awarded the estates of two engineering Ph.D. students a nearly eight-figure damage sum after they were struck and killed by a motorist while crossing Kendall Drive in Miami in Oct. 2013. Ying Chen, 27, and Hao Liu, 26, both University of Miami doctoral students, were struck by a vehicle driven by Milady Pequeno while crossing an intersection. The estates alleged Pequeno was distracted, talking with her mom (a passenger), when the crash occurred. The defense's accident reconstruction expert opined the crash was more-avoidable by the students, who could see the car. The defense also argued a vehicle blocked Pequeno's pedestrian view. But the jury found Pequeno 95 percent liable; Chen and Liu 5 percent, for a net $8.1 million award.
Estate of Chen v. Pequeno
A utility transformer explodes, and a bike-riding girl is burned
The family of a young girl has received $100,000 from a jury following a utility transformer explosion that seriously burned her. Faith Oquendo, then age 3, was sprayed with hot oil after an Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) transformer exploded while she was riding her bike near it, in front of her home in Orlando in May 2013. Oquendo sustained first-degree and second-degree burns to her face, left ear, neck and left shoulder, among other burns. Her mother and guardian Brenda Soto sued OUC and the transformer’s designer, ABB DE, Inc. for negligence. Prior to trial, both conceded liability and causation, and the trial addressed damages. The jury determined Oquendo’s damages totaled $100,000 with OUC and ABB each paying $50,000.
Oquendo v. Orlando Utilities Commission
|$844,566,000||Estate of Blaikie v. Auto America Automotive Corp.||Broward Co.||Jun 17|
|$64,500,000||Matthews v. Semco Construction||Hillsborough Co.||Mar 27|
|$60,000,000||Crowe v. Spectators3, LLC||Collier Co.||Apr 17|
|$46,500,000||Ryan v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.||Broward Co.||Apr 21|
|$34,697,465||Estate of O'Hara v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company||Escambia Co.||Sep 11|
|$24,057,283||Estate of Demella v. Kim||Broward Co.||Jun 23|
|$23,187,134||Suarez v. Port Charlotte HMA, LLC||Charlotte Co.||Apr 24|
|$20,830,000||McCann Holdings Ltd v. SDC Communities Inc||Sarasota Co.||Mar 16|
|$19,345,000||White v. Sanders||Volusia Co.||Mar 9|
|$19,200,000||Mendez v. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services||Palm Beach Co.||Mar 17|