$4.3 Million Verdict Against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in Miami-Dade

Ralph Ballard, a South Floridian, Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient fought in World War II, and he served in the Korea and Vietnam Wars. In 1942, while Mr. Ballard was in boot camp, he was given free cigarettes by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. After already solidifying his addiction from the free cigarettes at boot camp, he would go to the military store to buy them for 5 cents a pack.
Fast forward to 1977: Mr. Ballard’s doctor advised him that his cigarette smoking was damaging his lungs. He explained to the jury at his recent trial that it was difficult for him to stop smoking, even after his doctor spoke with him about the harmful effects of cigarette smoking.
Mr. Ballard’s cancerous bladder was removed in 1994. Since then he has had to urinate into a bag which is attached to his abdomen and he has not been able to function sexually. The jury awarded Mr. Ballard $7.8 million for his pain and suffering and settled on $750,000 to Mrs. Ballard for the loss of her husband’s comfort and attention (also known as “loss of consortium”). Mr. Ballard’s award was reduced to $4.3 million because the jury decided that he was 45% responsible for his bladder cancer.
An interesting legal aspect of this case is that Mr. Ballard and his attorney decided not to call an expert at trial. In exchange for not calling an expert, not only did they save a significant amount of time at trial, but Mr. Ballard also waived his right to pursue punitive damages. Punitive damages are damages which go above and beyond simple compensation for an injury. In theory, the purpose of punitive damages is to punish a defendant and to deter a defendant and others from committing similar acts in the future. Mr. Ballard’s attorney stated that the lack of a punitive damages count should lead to a speedy finalization of judgment since it is less likely that the case will go up on appeal in either the Florida or United States Supreme Court.

Goldman & Daszkal is a personal injury law firm that began in 1990, and it has pursued the rights of injured people in the Palm Beach County, Broward County, and Miami-Dade County communities ever since. In addition, Goldman & Daszkal handles all types of accident cases throughout the entire state of Florida. We have helped countless people recover the damages they need to cover medical expenses, pay bills, take care of their families, and get back to work. We can help you get the relief you need to start living your life again after a serious injury.