FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., May 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- In their opening statement, Edward Caprio's legal counsel argued that the "lies and deceit" of the tobacco industry caused the longtime smoker to become addicted to cigarettes that led to his lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Attorney Crane Johnstone with the Schlesinger Law Offices announced Friday, "The five week trial found three of the big four tobacco companies liable and the jury has awarded a partial verdict of $559,000 in past economic damages. Judge Thomas Lynch IV entered a partial verdict and ordered a new trial on the remaining issues that the jury was unable to agree upon unanimously." (Caprio v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco)
"Ed began smoking at age 15, eventually consuming two packs per day. Ed was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1996 and had parts of his lung removed. He is now 71 years old and suffers from crippling COPD," explained Johnstone.
"Caprio's case stems from the 2006 Engle Case," stated Johnstone. "In the Engle trial, the Florida Supreme Court allowed approximately 700,000 class members to pursue individual claims against the big four (4) tobacco companies, using findings of fact from the original Engle trial. Today, thousands of Floridians continue to pursue their claims in state and federal courts."
Caprio tried to quit "a number of times over the years, but he wasn't successful." He finally quit, Johnstone said, on January 1 of 2015, shortly before his trial began. Caprio was so addicted to the nicotine contained within the defendants' cigarettes that he smoked even after he was diagnosed with lung cancer and COPD. Caprio is now oxygen dependent twenty-four hours a day. He is unable to walk any distance without a rolling walker.
On Friday May 1, 2015, Judge Thomas Lynch IV granted Caprio's motion for entry of a partial verdict, which found that Caprio was addicted to cigarettes containing nicotine sold to him by Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, and Lorillard. He ruled that the addiction was the legal cause of Caprio's lung cancer and COPD. It is not yet clear, whether the tobacco companies will appeal the Court's order entering a partial verdict for $559,172 in past economic damages. The parties will reconvene with a new jury to resolve the remaining issues including conspiracy and entitlement to punitive damages.
Attorney Johnstone, echoing his trial partners Scott Schlesinger, Jon Gdanski and Steven Hammer, expressed thanks to the Caprio jury for their efforts in reaching a partial verdict and to Judge Lynch for the time and effort he devoted to the case, as well.
Contact: Robyn Lynn Sztyndor, Esquire, 786.395.1824, Email
SOURCE Edward Caprio