On Wednesday, February 14th, a Florida Appeals Court upheld a verdict issued in 2015 by a jury in Indian River County that awarded Gould Cooksey Fennell client Robert Gore $2,000,000 in damages for the premature death of his beloved wife. Gloria, Mr. Gore’s wife, was one of millions of American teenagers who in the 1950s were deceived by the tobacco industry into believing cigarettes were not addictive and did not cause disease. The tobacco industry specifically targeted kids, as young as 12 years old, with their extensive marketing and advertising of cigarettes as healthy and glamorous. Today, the dangers of cigarettes are common knowledge; however, that was not the case in the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s as the tobacco industry spent billions of dollars in propaganda designed to give Americans doubt as to whether cigarettes were addictive and caused disease. Their plan worked as millions of Americans in those days became hooked on cigarettes, and in most cases, died painful deaths from COPD and lung cancer. While Americans suffered, the tobacco industry profited from their fraud and deception.
The Gore case is one of thousands filed by Floridians holding the tobacco industry responsible for its corporate greed and fraudulent misconduct. In addition to upholding the verdict, the Florida Appeals Court held that Mr. Gore is entitled to go back before a new jury and seek punitive damages from the tobacco industry as a form of punishment for his wife’s death.