Florida Jury Awards $23.6 Billion to Widow of Michael Johnson in Smoking Lawsuit Against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company … What Happened to Personal Responsibility?

Sorry, I am no fan of the cigarette industry, but I am one of personal responsibility. I generally cannot stand the smell of cigarette smoke and don’t understand why anyone even uses them, but this jury verdict is absurd and needs to be overturned by appeal.

An Escambia County, Florida jury awarded the widow of of a 36 year old man who died of lung cancer $23.6 million. The verdict included more than $16 million in compensatory damages. Cynthia Robinson claimed that smoking killed her husband, Michael Johnson, in 1996 at the age of 36 after he had smoked from the age of 13. The widow stated that R.J. Reynolds was negligent in not informing him that nicotine is addictive and smoking can cause lung cancer. The lawyer for the plaintiff’s said that because of the juror’s age, he had to shoe how the tobacco industry presented its product before the public awareness campaigns on tobacco risks and dangers in the 1990′s. HUH? Robinson’s attorneys, Christopher Chestnut also went on to say, “The jury wanted to send a statement that tobacco cannot continue to lie to the American people and the American government about the addictiveness of and the deadly chemicals in their cigarettes.” HUH?

Smoking_Surgeon_Generals_warning_cigarettes

A Florida jury awarded a widow $23.6 billion in punitive damages in her lawsuit against tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, her lawyer said.

Cynthia Robinson claimed that smoking killed her husband, Michael Johnson, in 1996. She argued R.J. Reynolds was negligent in not informing him that nicotine is addictive and smoking can cause lung cancer. Johnson started smoking when he was 13 and died of lung cancer when he was 36.

The jury award Friday evening is “courageous,” said Robinson’s lawyer, Christopher Chestnut.

“If anyone saw the documents that this jury saw, I believe that person would have awarded a similar or greater verdict amount,” he said.

The Escambia County trial took four weeks and the jury deliberated for 15 hours, according to the Pensacola News Journal. The verdict included more than $16 million in compensatory damages, the newspaper said.

Chestnut said five of the six jurors who heard the case were 45 or younger, which meant he had to show them how the tobacco industry presented its product before the public awareness campaigns on tobacco risks and dangers in the 1990s, he said.

Okay, let’s do the math for the obviously challenged Florida jury. I guess this one might be as clueless as the Florida jury that deliberated in the Casey Anthony murder case. For 50 years we have been warned that smoking is hazardous to our health, where was Michael Johnson during that time?

FIRST … WHO DOES NOT KNOW THAT CIGARETTES ARE HARMFUL TO YOUR HEALTH AND CAUSE LUNG CANCER?

United States was the first nation to require a health warning on cigarette packages.

Now for the numbers.

  1. Michael Johnson died in 1996 at the age of 36 from lung cancer.
  2. This means the deceased would have been born in 1960.
  3. Johnson would have begun smoking in 1973 as the story above states he began smoking at the age of 13.
  4. WHAT PARENT ALLOWS THEIR CHILD TO SMOKE AT THE AGE OF 13?
  5. All 50 states bad laws banning sales to minors by 1950. The most common age of restriction for cigarettes and tobacco products today applies to persons under the age of 18. In an effort to ensure stricter enforcement 11 states have lowered the age of restriction from 21 to 15 (Tobacco Merchants Association, 1971: 1-2).
  6. The smoking age was 18 meaning for 5 years the decease was breaking the law and smoking as a minor. Who’s fault was that?
  7. In 2006 Florida state Supreme Court tossed out a $145 billion class-action verdict. That ruling also said smokers and their families need only prove addiction and that smoking caused their illnesses or deaths.
  8. In 2008 on behalf of her late husband, Michael Johnson Sr.
  9. 2014 a Florida jury awards $23.6 billion in punitive damages in a lawsuit against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco.

Smoking_Surgeon_Generals_warning_cigarettes_1965

Now for some more relevant numbers.

  • On June 12, 1957, Surgeon General Leroy E. Burney declared it the official position of the U.S. Public Health Service that the evidence pointed to a causal relationship between smoking and lung cancer.
  • The 1964 report on smoking and health had an impact on public attitudes and policy. A Gallup Survey conducted in 1958 found that only 44 percent of Americans believed smoking caused cancer, while 78 percent believed so by 1968. In the course of a decade, it had become common knowledge that smoking damaged health, and mounting evidence of health risks gave Terry’s 1964 report public resonance.
  • The Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965 (Public Law 89–92) required that the warning “Caution: Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Health” be placed in small print on one of the side panels of each cigarette package. The act prohibited additional labeling requirements at the federal, state, or local levels.
  • In June 1967 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued its first report to Congress recommending that the warning label be changed to “Warning: Cigarette Smoking Is Dangerous to Health and May Cause Death from Cancer and Other Diseases.”
  • In 1969 Congress passed the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act (Public Law 91–222), which prohibited cigarette advertising on television and radio and required that each cigarette package contain the label “Warning: The Surgeon General Has Determined That Cigarette Smoking Is Dangerous to Your Health.”
  • In 1981 Congress enacted the Comprehensive Smoking Education Act of 1984 (Public Law 98–474), which required four specific health warnings on all cigarette packages and advertisements:SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, and May Complicate Pregnancy.
        SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Quitting Smoking Now Greatly Reduces Serious Risks to Your Health.
        SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Smoking by Pregnant Women May Result in Fetal Injury, Premature Birth, and Low Birth Weight.
        SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Cigarette Smoke Contains Carbon Monoxide.

I am of the belief that if cigarette tobacco is so bad, then make them illegal to use. Otherwise, it is just a way of the local, state and federal government making tax money off of lung cancer. It is an individual’s choice to smoke. Sorry folks, unless you were born prior to 1965 or your terminal lung cancer occurred prior to then, you have no one to blame but yourself. For nearly 50 years there have been warning labels on cigarette packages.

EXACTLY HOW MANY WARNINGS DOES ONE NEED BEFORE THEY REALIZE THAT SOMETHING IS HAZARDOUS TO THEIR HEALTH?

3 Inmates Escape from Canadian Jail Using a Helicopterin Quebec City … Suspects: Yves Denis Yvon Lamontagne, Denis Lefebvre & Serge Pomerleau (Update: Canadian Escapees Captured)

Movie-like prison break in the Great White North …

Three inmates escaped from a Quebec City, Canada jail Saturday night with the aid of a helicopter. A Sûreté du Québec spokesperson confirmed to CBC News that the prison break occurred at 7:45 p.m. ET from Orsainville Detention Centre and the inmates fled westbound in a green helicopter. There is currently a massive manhunt under way in Canada and the United States for Yves Denis Yvon Lamontagne, 35, Denis Lefebvre, 53, and Serge Pomerleau, 49. All are considered involved with organized crime.

Canada_Prison break

From left, Denis Lefebvre, Serge Pomerleau and Yves Denis are shown in these police handout photos. Pic: screen grab from AP video below.

In a daring operation worthy of a movie, three men escaped from a Canadian jail by helicopter, prompting a massive manhunt, authorities said.

The men escaped from a detention center Saturday night in Quebec City.

“A helicopter touched down briefly in the courtyard before taking off with the three prisoners,” Ann Mathieu, a spokeswoman for Quebec Provincial Police, told CNN.

“We are talking closely with the detention center to figure out exactly how the escape transpired,” Mathieu told CNN partner CBC. “The priority … is to find the helicopter.”

A manhunt is under way for Yves Denis Yvon Lamontagne, 35, Denis Lefebvre, 53, and Serge Pomerleau, 49.

UPDATE I: Quebec manhunt widens for escaped inmates after helicopter jailbreak.

The three men were originally arrested on drug trafficking and gangsterism charges in 2010, according to police.

Denis is also facing first-degree murder charges, while Lefebvre and Pomerleau are facing charges of murder and conspiracy to murder, according to the Quebec provincial police website.

As the search continued Sunday, police added the escapees to the list of Quebec’s 10 most wanted.

The status of the men’s cases in the court system was not immediately clear. Provincial jails in Canada normally house people awaiting trial or those sentenced to offenses of two years or less behind bars.

Police said the men were swept up in a major 2010 police operation called Operation Ecrevisse (Project Crayfish), aimed at bringing down a drug trafficking ring in northwestern Quebec.

UPDATE II: Escapees in Canadian helicopter jailbreak captured.

“The prisoners were arrested at 1:30 in the morning in Montreal. The SWAT team made the arrest and those three people will appear in court … Monday in Quebec City,” Quebec police spokesman Sgt. Ronald Mc Innis told CNN.

He declined to say any more about the arrest as the investigation is continuing.

The helicopter’s pilot hasn’t yet been caught, according to police, but more arrests are expected, Mc Innis said.

Daily Commentary – Monday, May 26, 2014 – Pittsburgh Elementary School 4th Grader Caught Smoking Marijuana in School

  • The girl told authorities she brought the joint and lighter from home. The school says she will face disciplinary action

Daily Commentary – Monday, May 26, 2014 Download

Daily Commentary – Tuesday, May 20, 2014 – NY City Cops Shoot Robbery Suspect After Pill Theft

  • One of the bottles of pills he stole had a tracking device inside it allowing police to track and confront him.

Daily Commentary – Tuesday, May 20, 2014 Download

Daily Commentary – Tuesday, April 1, 2014 – Colorado Man Claims “License Plate Profiling” in Suit

  • Darien Roseen filed suit in Idaho a year after being pulled over and searched for marijuana he claims due to his Colorado license plates.



Daily Commentary – Tuesday, April 1, 2014 Download

23 Year Old Courtney Cash, Great Nice of Legendary Country Singer Johnny Cash, Stabbed to Death in Tennessee … Wayne Masciarella Arrested & Charged With First Degree Murder

Great Niece of Johnny Cash stabbed to Death …

23 year old Courtney Cash, the great niece of the late legendary country singer Johnny Cash, has been stabbed to death at her home in Baxter, Tennessee. Courtney Cash was found stabbed to death and stuffed inside a large wooden box in her home on 8129 Rice Road on Wednesday morning. The man who lived with her, identified as William Austin Johnson, was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center with multiple stab wounds.  Johnson was able to get out of the home with the couple’s young daughter and drive himself to a hospital in White County. The child was not hurt.

Andrews said the pair had gone out with a friend before an altercation took place in the house where Johnson and Cash lived with their young child. The friend, identified as Wayne Gary Masciarella, has been charged with first-degree murder.

Johnson escaped the attack and took the child with him before driving to the hospital, Andrews said. The scene inside the house was “somewhat bloody,” Andrews told reporters at a news conference.

“There was a struggle,” the sheriff said.

Courtney Cash_murdered

Courtney Cash – photo from Facebook

Wayne Masciarella of Cape May, NJ was arrested in  Cookeville, TN and charged with first degree murder. Masciarella was booked and held without bond into the Putnam County Jail. He will have a preliminary hearing on April 21. Masciarella has been previously arrested more than 20 times in Putnam County. According to News Channel 5, Masciarella’s rap sheet includes charges for aggravated assault, possession and public intoxication.

Wayne Masciarella_murderer

Wayne Masciarella – Facebook

A 27-year-old man has been charged with fatally stabbing the great niece of legendary country entertainer Johnny Cash.

Wayne Masciarella of Cape May, N.J. was charged with first-degree murder in the Wednesday death of 23-year-old Courtney Cash. He was also accused of stabbing her boyfriend, William Austin Johnson.

Putnam County Sheriff David Andrews said Masciarella had gotten into a dispute with Johnson and Cash at their Baxter home before he allegedly stabbed them both and fled. The three were believed to be friends, the sheriff said.

Tommy Cash, the brother of Johnny Cash and the grandfather of Courtney, issued a statement on the tragic event:

“We ask for your prayers for the Cash family at this time. Courtney and her boyfriend are beloved members of my family and like you we have a lot of questions and emotions that we are beginning to sort through today. We ask you to respect our privacy and appreciate all the support that the public and media has always offered me and my family, as we handle the loss of our grand-daughter. We are completely heartbroken.”

UPDATE I: According to local Sheriff David Andrews, the crime could have been a direct or indirect result of drugs.

Sheriff Andrews said he can’t comment on the murder weapon or a possible motive in the case, but he said it could be drug-related.

“This was a senseless, tragic death of a young lady whose life was probably taken as a direct or indirect result of drugs, and that’s just the world we live in. It’s just unfortunate that our people in our society lean so heavily on drugs to get through life,” Andrews said.

Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder Endorses Shorter Prison Sentences for Certain Nonviolent Drug Traffickers

Eric Holder’s Department of Injustice: Are you kidding, are they trying to completely destroy America?

Barack Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder now wants to propose shorter prison sentences for certain nonviolent drug traffickers. Not non-violent drug users, but drug dealers. So as long as you are not violent, you have the green light to traffic and deal drugs, according to Holder.  The U.S. Sentencing Commission proposed in January to modifying the guideline penalties so that many drug trafficking crimes would be tied to shorter sentencing ranges. The Justice Department says the effect would be to reduce by 11 months the average sentence of a drug trafficking offender and would trim the federal prison population by roughly 6,550 inmates over the next five years. GREAT … and we can have 6,550 formerly imprisoned drug dealers out on the streets to traffic in drugs again. BRILLIANT!!!

Drug Deal

Last night Bill O’Reilly had two Democrats on The Factor last night, Patrick Fennedy and Christopher Kennedy Lawford, discussing the ills of the legalization of marijuana. This is just the legalization of pot, Holder wants to set drug dealers free earlier who traffic in even worse things like heroin, crack, etc. Just curious, is Obama and Holder trying to destroy America entirely?

Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), a former prescription drug addict who has been one of the most prominent anti-pot voices in America of late, railed against the nascent marijuana industry for targeting teenagers… some time in the future. “They are going to make their money off of people like myself who are addicts and I just don’t think this is the kind of thing that makes our country stronger, families stronger and of course jeopardizes the public health at large.”

Just when viewers may have thought O’Reilly’s next guest would argue the other side of the issue, Christopher Kennedy Lawford came on even stronger against legalization. “The two most damaging drugs on the planet are legal alcohol and nicotine, we don’t need another legal drug,” he said. “Legalization will increase prevalence. Our youth are at risk.”

Drugs_BOR_screen grab P Kennedy

click HERE or on pic to watch VIDEO

ABC News:

Attorney General Eric Holder is endorsing a proposal that would result in shorter prison sentences for certain nonviolent drug traffickers, saying the change would rein in bloated federal prison costs and create a fairer criminal justice system.

Holder was to appear Thursday before the U.S. Sentencing Commission, where he was scheduled to announce his support for a commission proposal to lower the guideline penalties for certain drug crimes.

“This overreliance on incarceration is not just financially unsustainable, it comes with human and moral costs that are impossible to calculate,” Holder said in excerpts of his testimony, obtained by The Associated Press in advance.

The harshest penalties, he said, should be reserved for “dangerous and violent drug traffickers.”

Daily Commentary – Tuesday, March 11, 2014 – Dangerous Trend, Sleeping Pill Use on the Rise

  • Risky pattern of taking with other drugs leading to DUI’s and worse

Daily Commentary – Tuesday, March 11, 2014 Download

Look What Happened When You Took Advice on Twitter Last Night from #Crack Smoking, Drunk Mayor Rob Ford

Would you expect anything less when taking advice from a crack smoking, alcoholic individual?

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was at it again last night giving advice out to folks for the change to daylight savings time. Do you notice the problem from the tweet below? A note to Rob Ford, it’s “Spring forward, Fall back”. The crack smoking mayor instead told folks to turn their clocks back the wrong direction last night, Oops! Well, he had a 50-50 chance of getting it right. Needless to say the Twitter universe fired back mocking Rob Ford. At least he got the change batteries in smoke alarms right.

Why do the feeling that Rob Ford would make a great segment for a DISHTV commercial” … Don’t take advice from a crack smoking mayor “.

Tweet_Rob Ford_Daylight Savings

Twitter - @TOMayorFord

The comical part of this, beyond the obvious, is that this tweet blunder comes day after mayor’s social media manager resigns from job.

Tom Beyer, the longest-serving staffer of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, announced his resignation on Friday after serving as receptionist for more than three years, due to what he described to NOW Magazine writer Jonathan Goldsbie as “doctor’s orders, really.”

Among his duties, it turned out, was providing information that was served up through social media on the @TOMayorFord account — which the mayor himself has obviously never contributed directly to.

The incorrect tweet was eventually scrubbed from the account and replaced with a new, more accurate one.

Daily Commentary – Thursday, March 6, 2014 – Third Graders in SF Grade School Caught Smoking Pot

  • 3 third grade students were caught by another student smoking pot in the schools bathroom

Daily Commentary – Thursday, March 6, 2014 Download

CBS – San Francisco: 3rd-Graders Caught Smoking Pot In Sonora School Bathroom.

It used to be if you got caught, ‘Smokin’ in the Boy’s Room’, it was cigarettes and it was high school. However, not these days. It is the 3rd grade and POT!!! But wait, I thought so many are saying that pot is okay, it was those dastardly cigarettes that were evil. As Dana says in his commentary, be careful of what you wish for, you might just get it. So what band will be doing the next cover of The Brownville Station’s classic song and what will it be titled, ‘Tokin’ in the Elementary School Boy’s Room’?

Three third-grade students at a Sonora elementary school were busted for smoking pot in the school’s bathroom last week.

Two 8-year-olds and a 9-year-old were caught by another student, who immediately informed school administrators.  Those officials then alerted local police.

The students were questioned by officers, and later released to their parents on February 27th.

 

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