Jacqueline Burgess, born in 1937, met her husband, Johnny, in 1951. She was 14 years old and he was 17 years old at the time. They married two years later in 1953 in South Carolina and both worked as sharecroppers on a farm. They were married for almost 40 years until Mr. Burgess’ untimely death in 1993 from lung cancer caused by his addiction to cigarettes containing nicotine.
Mr. Burgess began smoking at 14 years old in 1948, 18 years before the first caution labels were placed on cigarettes. He smoked unfiltered Pall Mall cigarettes until 1965, when he switched to Winston filtered cigarettes because he believed, as the tobacco industry wanted people to believe, that filtered cigarettes were safer than unfiltered cigarettes. They were not.
He smoked 1.5 – 2 packs per day until he quit in 1982. Unfortunately, the damage to his lungs had been done and he was diagnosed with lung cancer that spread to his liver and bones in 1993.
Mrs. Burgess, on behalf of Mr. Burgess’ Estate, sued the manufacturer of Pall Mall and Winston brand cigarettes, RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company. After a two and one half week trial in Port St. Lucie, the jury found for Mrs. Burgess on her claims of negligence, strict liability, fraudulent concealment and conspiracy to commit fraudulent concealment. The jury awarded Mrs. Burgess $3 million in damages.
Mrs. Burgess was represented by Randy Rosenblum of Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP, Gary Paige and Cassandra Lombard of Gordon & Doner, P.A., and David Sales of David J. Sales, P.A. Robert Philipson of Legal-Eze Litigation Consulting and Graphics, assisted the attorneys at trial.
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