Big Tobacco got $145 billion ruling overturned … and may end up losing

VERRRRY interesting story.

In 2006, the Florida Supreme Court overturned a $145 billion class action judgement against Big Tobacco, saying that the award should not have been made on a class-action basis, but an individual basis. Well, that seemed to be a victory for Big Tobacco, but maybe not. The plaintiffs were allowed to refile as individuals and all the evidence from the original case was allowed in their refilings.

There were 8,000 individuals involved in the class-action suit, and several of those individuals have been winning big judgments against Big Tobacco lately. Twenty-four plaintiffs have won awards totalling $360 million so far, an average of $15 million per plaintiff. Thousands more cases are pending. If only half of those original plaintiffs — 4,000, win judgements averaging $15 million apiece, that adds up to $60 billion … and that’s not counting all the headaches and legal bills from constantly being involved in litigation. Thirty-four cases have been heard so far, and the plaintiffs, smokers, have won 24 out of 34.

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