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.
Smoking cigarettes caused husband’s COPD, death: wife
A jury has awarded the estate of a smoker an eight-figure sum in a products liability case. Lawyers for Franklin Johnston, who died in 2010 at age 60 and was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 1985, sued R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and five other companies for products liability. All were dismissed except R.J. Reynolds. Estate's counsel claimed Johnston began smoking at age 15 and his addiction was so strong, he smoked on awakening, in the middle of the night, and even when sick. Defense counsel argued Johnston chose to smoke, but the jury found Reynolds 90 percent liable, Johnston 10 percent, and awarded $7.5 million in compensatory damages, $14 million in punitive damages, for a $21.5 million total award.
Estate of Johnston v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.
Shift change resulted in health issues, forced early retirement: plaintiff
A jury has found for a police officer in an employment dispute. Stanley Snead claimed he was forced to retire in 2014 after his employer refused to grant him 8-hour work shifts, due to his medical condition. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) had implemented a change requiring 12-hour shifts. After Snead's doctor determined his high blood pressure was out of control, due to a change in his sleeping and eating habits caused by the 12-hour shifts, Snead requested an 8-hour shift. When FAMU denied it, he sued. The defense argued his accommodation was unreasonable, but the jury found he had a disability, the accommodation was reasonable, and awarded him $251,078. The judge also ordered Snead reinstated, subject to conditions.
Snead v. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Board of Trustees
U.S. District Court, Northern District, Tallahassee
Unsecured storm drain cover caused ankle, knee injuries, walker claimed
A jury has awarded a walker a six-figure sum in a dangerous condition/trip and fall case. Sandra Willis, 62, claimed she was walking her dog on county property in Orlando in May 2013 when she stepped on a storm drain cover, the cover flipped over, her left leg fell through, became stuck, while her right ankle snapped. Willis sued Orange County alleging its workers were the last people to remove the cover. Willis, diagnosed with a fractured right ankle and left medial meniscus tear, had surgery to repair each and claimed minor, daily life limitations. The defense argued the drains had been cleaned two months earlier and placed back properly. The jury found each party 50 percent liable, for a $167,504 net-award for Willis.
Willis v. Orange County Board of County Commissioners
|$46,693,640||Arctic Cat Inc. v. Bombardier Recreational Products Inc.||Federal||Jun 1|
|$41,956,474||Osmond v. Neighborhood Restaurant Partners Florida, LLC||Hernando Co.||Apr 22|
|$40,150,000||Mais v. Cumberbatch||Broward Co.||Kan 5|
|$33,500,000||Estate of Purdo v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.||Palm Beach Co.||Apr 27|
|$32,000,000||HPC US Fund 1, L.P. v. Wood||Federal||Feb 17|
|$28,795,000||Konzelman v. Philip Morris USA Inc||Broward Co.||Oct 25|
|$28,000,500||Manzano v. Carey Royal Ramm Funeral Home Inc.||Dade Co.||Mar 10|
|$28,000,000||Jara v. Nunez||Federal||Jun 27|
|$23,148,100||Stephens v. Bradshaw||Federal||Feb 3|
|$21,500,000||Estate of Johnston v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.||Sarasota Co.||Nov 3|