Cigarette Product Liability Lawsuit Goes To Trial
Can you sue over cancer caused by a lifetime of smoking cigarettes? The majority of those lawsuits have already been settled, and by now, it is assumed that everyone knows that cigarettes cause cancer. This leaves plaintiffs with little opportunity to make arguments related to negligence. In other words, because the failure to warn lawsuits have more or less been settled, plaintiffs cannot claim the manufacturer’s negligence exceeds their own. In other words, a smoker who uses the product as intended can almost never file a lawsuit against a cigarette company.
But what happens if the cigarette is contaminated? What if the design of the cigarette itself renders smokers more vulnerable than average smokers? Before we answer those questions, we have to analyze some of Florida’s history.
Engle progeny lawsuits
In the 1990s, Floridians filed a class-action lawsuit against tobacco companies. The class was later decertified forcing each of the individuals in the class to pursue their lawsuits individually. Those lawsuits are still making their way through the courts. However, this is not one of those lawsuits. It is very difficult for a plaintiff to file a cause of action against a tobacco company unless they are making a new allegation. The Engle-progeny lawsuits are allowed to move forward only because the allegations had already been decided. In the lawsuit mentioned above, a jury will decide the matter based on new allegations.
So what are the new allegations? The plaintiff claims that the cigarette was designed to be as addictive as possible, and this also made it as deadly as possible.
Understanding product liability lawsuits
Product liability lawsuits are filed under three theories, failure to warn, defective design, and manufacturing defect. In the newest lawsuit, the plaintiffs are arguing that the design of the cigarette would inevitably lead to more plaintiffs acquiring cancer. In other words, these brands increased the likelihood of cancer whereas other brands did not. This separates them from the pack and gives a plaintiff a strong theory of negligence on which to file their claim.
The defendants can still claim that the plaintiff had fair warning, but the plaintiff will claim that they tried to quit several times and could not. Why? Their product was designed to be as addictive as possible.
In this case, the lawsuit was allowed to move forward because the cigarettes were even more dangerous than the average consumer had been led to believe. The merits of this lawsuit will rest on the plaintiff establishing that the defendant’s brand of cigarettes was different from the industry standard.
Talk to a Florida Product Liability Lawyer Today
Halpern, Santos & Pinkert represent the interests of those who have been injured by dangerous or defective products. Call our Florida personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.