RJR Found 30% Liable in Koballa Tobacco Trial

Posted by msch on Apr 8, 2011 10:00:00 AM

Judge Robert RouseKoballa v. Phillip Morris (Deland, Florida).

A jury worked late until 8pm in Volusia County last night to deliver a verdict in favor of Stella Koballa and against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco.

In Phase 1 of the trial, the jury found that Ms. Koballa, a lifelong smoker, was addicted to cigarettes, and that the addiction was the legal cause of her lung cancer.

However, in Phase 2 the jury decided that neither R.J. Reynolds' negligence, nor the defective nature of the cigarettes, nor R.J. Reynolds' concealment of information was a legal cause of Ms. Koballa's injury. Nonetheless, the jury assigned R.J. Reynolds 30% responsibility as a legal cause of Ms. Koballa's illness, and denied R.J. Reynolds' statute of limitations defense.

The jury found that Ms. Koballa had sustained $1M damages in the past, but awarded no future damages, resulting in an award of $300,000, which would be on the low-end of the spectrum of awards in Engle tobacco trials so far.

Koballa v. R.J. Reynolds was a retrial. Last October, a jury deadlocked on whether Ms. Koballa was addicted. CVN webcast Koballa v. RJR live.

Topics: Toxic Torts, Products Liability, Koballa v. Philip Morris, Engle Progeny, Tobacco Litigation