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?


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?


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.
  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.


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.


San Diego Mayor Bob “Filthy” Filner Resigns … Plays the Victim and Blames “Media, their Political Agents & Lynch Mobs” … Not the Fact he was a Serial Sexual Harasser


San Diego Mayor Bob Filner resigns and gives a speech that shows what a pathetic and miserable individual he truly is. His resignation is effective August 30, however, it can’t come soon enough.  After he said that he takes responsibility for his disgusting actions, he then played the victim cared and put the blame on the”media and their political agents”. Good grief.

Filner even went so far as to say the following reprehensible comment that there was “a lynch mob mentality, rumors become allegations, allegations become facts, facts become evidence of sexual harassment which have led to demands of my resignation and recall.” Filner went on to say that he faced “a lynch mob”. Sorry Bob, but you faced your disgusting behavior. And if you claim you did nothing wrong, why are you apologizing and why did you go to rehab? From what it sounds like, this Democrat politician is saying that the multitude of woman who have come forward to say that they were sexual harassed by Filner are lying. Is that you you are saying Bob? BTW, everyone wanted you out, especially Democrats who had egg on their face with their talking points of the GOP war on woman when they had a serial misogynist in their midst.

Transcript from the Washington Free Beacon:

BOB FILNER: [...] Now I have to caution the council about one thing, the city. I started my political career facing lynch mobs. I think we have just faced one here in San Diego. You are going to have to deal with that. A lynch mob mentality, rumors become allegations, allegations become facts, facts become evidence of sexual harassment which have led to demands of my resignation and recall. Not one allegation, members of the council, has been verified or proven in court. I have never sexually harassed anyone. But the hysteria that has been created and many of you helped defeat is the hysteria of a lynch mob. Now, as I said I faced lynch mobs many times when I was younger. No evidence was needed. The mob knew who was guilty. Who needed due process? Ladies and gentlemen, democracy needs due process. San Diego needs due process. Those of you in the media and politics who fed this hysteria, I think need to look at what you helped do because you have unleashed a monster. I think we will pay for this, a front to democracy for a long time. Now the hysteria plays into the hands of those who want a political coup. The removal of a democratically elected mayor purely by rumor. Now I am responsible for providing ammunition. I did that. I take full responsibility. But they are who pointed the gun. And the media and their political agents pulled the trigger. That, ladies and gentlemen, is not what democracy is about. I was elected to make changes. People opposed me from the beginning. They found the weapons they needed in my own failures as a human being, but they found those weapons and they used them in a bloody and vicious way. So, you’re going to have to deal with that, if you care about democracy. What I would like to leave you with is what I started my campaign on, and that is a vision of what this city ought to be and what we can become. [...]

Hey Bob, don’t ask for things they might just come true. Trust me, there will be criminal and civil investigations into your conduct and you will be spending the next 10 years in court for your actions.  Just wow. After reading that denial speech my suggestion to Filner is that you go back into therapy permanently. What a drama queen. These people think that they are so important and their visions are so important, that they are about the law and moral conduct. Sick, sick, sick.

Weasel Zippers says, good grief, just leave already … “Oh please. “Well organized interests” out to take down democracy and push a coup to take Filner out? He says he will keep pushing for a “progressive world”. Well organized interests and a lynch mob forced this perv out of office, really? His actions were so sleazy and in such mass that even DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz long with California US Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer asked him to resign. Were they part of the “lynch mob” as well?

Mississippi Passes ‘Anti-Bloomberg Bill,’ Banning Limits on Portion Sizes & Posting of Calorie Counts Requirements … Well, I hope [Mayor Bloomberg] will remember, A Southern man don’t need him around anyhow … “


Mississippi lawmakers have overwhelmingly passed a bill  called the  ”anti-Bloomberg bill.” The bill does just the opposite from what the liberal mayor of NYC has inflicted upon the Big Apple. The “anti-Bloomberg bill” would ban communities from requiring restaurants to post calorie counts on menus or limit portion sizes. It is not up to the government to tell an individual what to eat or drink or to prevent one from doing to. Is it smart to eat healthy and use some common sense on what one eats, yes. However, it is about personal choice and personal responsibility.

Lawmakers in Mississippi — the most obese state in the nation — have overwhelmingly approved what they’re calling the “anti-Bloomberg bill.”

It would ban communities from requiring restaurants to post calorie counts on menus or limit portion sizes, as Mayor Bloomberg tried to do with his proposed ban on large sodas.  Also forbidden: any local rule banning toys from being distributed with kids’ meals.

The governor is expected to sign it.

When asked about the law, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg was highly critical of the bill and called it a farce. Guess what Mayor Bloomberg, no one cares what you think in Mississippi. It may not quite be Lynyrd Skynyrd’s  ’Sweet Home Alabama,’ but Mississippi is singing, “Well, I hope [Mayor Bloomberg] will remember, A Southern man don’t need him around anyhow … 

Mr. Bloomberg was highly critical of the legislation when he was asked about the bill this morning in an interview on CBS.

“You know, Saturday Night Live couldn’t write this stuff,” Mr. Bloomberg exclaimed. “How can somebody try and pass a law that deliberately says we can’t improve the lives of our citizens? It’s just farce. Nobody would believe it if you wrote it in the book.”

Mr. Bloomberg proceeded to tout his efforts to improve public health.

How do we say this politely? Mayor Bloomberg, it’s none of your F’n business what people are eating. Especially in Mississippi. It is not your place to tell some one what they can and cannot eat. Worry about your 80% illiteracy reading rate for high school graduates in NCY. THAT IS YOUR JOB! Personal responsibility and personal choice is not.


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