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Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein Partner Randy Rosenblum Obtains $17M Verdict in MA Tobacco Case

On May 31, 2019, Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein Partner, Randy Rosenblum, along with Gary Paige and Cassandra Lombard of Gordon & Partners, and Andrew Rainer and Meredith Level of the Public Health Advocacy Group, obtained a $17 million verdict against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company after a month long trial in Lowell, Massachusetts. The case was originally brought by the Decedent, Pamela Coyne, after she was diagnosed with lung cancer but before she passed away. After she died in 2016, her husband James Coyne continued the case as a wrongful death case for the benefit of the Estate, Mr. Coyne and their four children.

Pamela Coyne was born in 1957 and began smoking at age 10. From the age of 14, she smoked Winston and Winston Light brand cigarettes, manufactured by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.

Mr. Coyne presented expert testimony at trial that Mrs. Coyne was heavily addicted to the cigarettes she smoked and that she tried, unsuccessfully, to quit many times using many different quit aides/methods including hypnosis, Nicorette gum, a nicotine patch, cold turkey, cutting down on the number of cigarettes she smoked and Chantix.

The evidence at trial included testimony from Mrs. Coyne’s family that she believed that the filters on her Winston cigarettes were better/healthier for her than unfiltered cigarettes, and that she switched to Winston Light cigarettes because she believed they were healthier for her and would help her quit.

Mr. Coyne also presented expert testimony about the decades long conspiracy entered into by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and other cigarette manufacturers and the availability of reasonable alternative safer cigarette designs that would have reduced or avoided Mrs. Coyne’s injuries and death. Mrs. Coyne was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015 caused by her smoking of Winston and Winston Light cigarettes, which metastasized to her liver, spine and brain. She died on February 7, 2016.

At trial, the jury found for Mr. Coyne on his claims for Breach of Warranty (product defect), Conspiracy and Negligent Marketing. The jury awarded in excess of $6 million for compensatory damages and medical bills, and in excess of $11 million in punitive damages, for a total verdict that slightly exceeded $17 million.

Randy has obtained in excess of $80 million in verdicts in other tobacco cases.