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The Ratzan Law Group, a firm recognized by Leaders In The Law in South Florida’s Leading Lawyers of 2017, secured a substantial award against big tobacco makers in February.

The firm represented the family of Irene Gloger, a smoker who passed away in the 1990s due to lung cancer, which a Miami-Dade County jury found was the legal cause of her death. The plaintiff was represented by Stuart N. Ratzan and Stuart J. Weissman of Ratzan Law Group, P.A.. The Miami-based firm was assisted by the law firms Crabtree & Auslander and Zebersky Payne LLP.

The defendants were R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and Philip Morris Inc., who have been under intense legal and public scrutiny in recent years for fraudulently withholding the truth about the dangers of cigarettes even when they its hazards. The jury found them responsible for Gloger’s death and that compensatory and punitive damages were warranted for the conduct of the defendant cigarette companies. The total jury award was $17.5 million.

The plaintiff argued that the behavior of the cigarette defendants caused or contributed to cause Irene Gloger to begin smoking as a child at age 14. Ultimately, by age 16, she was addicted to cigarettes containing nicotine and continued to smoke regularly until her untimely passing.

The case is significant because it is part of the “Engle Progeny” litigation. After the Florida Supreme Court decertified a class action lawsuit filed by pediatrician Howard Engle for injuries suffered due to smoking, thousands of former class members were able to file individual lawsuits against cigarette manufacturers for their injuries and losses.

“These cigarette/tobacco companies lied, cheated and stole from the American people for over 45 years,” said Stuart Ratzan. “When their conspiracy ended, they found themselves on a perch no other product manufacturer ever has and hopefully never will: they are legally permitted to sell a defective and unreasonably dangerous product. ¬†Cigarettes not only injure, but also kill over half of daily smokers. There are safer ways to deliver nicotine but none more profitable than the cigarette.”

Learn more about Ratzan Law Group’s recent, unrelated $45 million injury verdict here.

For more about the Ratzan Law Group, visit here.