Widow Gets Whopping $23.6 Billion Award

Sounds shocking, but it is true that widow Cynthia Robinson received $23.6 billion because of  Michael Johnson Sr, her 36 year old smoker husband. In 1996, lung cancer took his life. Cynthia believed it was the fault of RJ Renolds, the maker of Winston, Kool, Camel and Pall Mall cigarettes. She sued them with the argument that  RJ Renolds did not provide enough clarity about the danger of smoking on their packet labels. Her husband wanted to quit smoking multiple times, but always addiction prevailed.

Friday 18th of 2014, the verdict in the court went in her favor, requiring RJ Renolds to pay $23.6 billion to her in damage. Cynthia's lawyer believes this will make all tobacco firms more careful in the future.Obviously, RJ Renolds officials were not happy about it. They were shocked mainly by the massive amount. Their plan now is to file post trial motion. This means they will try to convince the trial court to make amendment in the verdict.

Is it possible to hold the company responsible for Johnson's death? It is true that their cigarette packs do not have clear warning. They still do not mention lung cancer and in the 90's, cigarettes were still very much normal. But the problem in the story is that her husband started smoking at the age 13. That is an early invitation for death. We still can't blame him, for we don't know how his parents were. We don't even know whether he had one. At age 13, kids do not understand much about what is good and bad, making them highly attracted to the forbidden. That is why, drug dealers love to chase after teens. RJ Renolds could have averted the damage by simply making sure that they added "lung cancer" to the warning line. 

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