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Widow awarded $23 billion in lawsuit against cigarette maker

Monday, Jul 21, 2014 - 02:04

Eighteen years after losing her husband to lung cancer, Cynthia Robinson is awarded $23 billion in a wrongful death lawsuit against a tobacco company. Nathan Frandino reports.

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(SOUNDBITE) (English) CYNTHIA MARIE JOHNSON ROBINSON, PLAINTIFF, SAYING: "He would smoke every day, you know, he'd get up in the morning, go in the bathroom, shower, smoke." Cynthia Johnson remembers her late husband's smoking habits well. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CYNTHIA MARIE JOHNSON ROBINSON, PLAINTIFF, SAYING: "I'm not around him at work, but if I show up, some days, he'd smoking. But at night, he's smoking. He lights a cigarette off of a cigarette." Michael Johnson died of lung cancer in 1996. Now, with the help of her attorneys, Cynthia is getting compensated for her loss. A Florida jury has awarded her $23 billion in a wrongful death lawsuit against RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company, the nation's second-biggest cigarette maker. Cynthia claimed that the company conspired to conceal the dangers and addictive nature of its products. Her attorney, Willie Gary, says the verdict sends a message. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WILLIE GARY, ATTORNEY, SAYING: "You just can't lie to people. You can't deceive people. You can't withhold information. And above all, you can't lie to them and then if they believe you and your lies, you blame them. Well, it was judgment day and it caught up with RJ Reynolds Tobacco." Lawyers for the tobacco company could not immediately be reached for comment. But one high-ranking official told the New York Times that the company planned to challenge quote "this runaway verdict." Such industry appeals are often successful. In fact, lawyers with expertise in jury awards said the $23 billion judgment is likely be rejected on appeal or reduced substantially. Still, it's a big step for Cynthia. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CYNTHIA MARIE JOHNSON ROBINSON, PLAINTIFF, SAYING: "I will not stop until I am pleased. And we did just that, Mr. Gary and Mr. Chestnut and of course God."

Widow awarded $23 billion in lawsuit against cigarette maker

Monday, Jul 21, 2014 - 02:04

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