The short answer is yes! Despite settlements between most of the states and big tobacco and a massive vacated class action lawsuit, as an individual, you are still eligible to sue tobacco companies right now. There are a few things that you must prove to qualify; that's why we are here to help.
The 1998 Master Settlement Agreement was a settlement between the four largest tobacco companies in the U.S. and 46 states, D.C., and five U.S. territories. It is estimated to have cost big tobacco companies up to $250 billion in damages and remains one of the largest public health settlements in U.S. history. While that agreement prevents states from pursuing future legal action against these companies, the agreement does not restrict individual consumers from continuing to bring cases against big tobacco companies. This decision allows us to seek damages on your behalf if you suffer from a smoking-related illness.
In addition to the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement, in 2006, the Florida State Supreme Court vacated a large class action settlement for tobacco. The decision to cancel that settlement and the punitive damages owed by the tobacco company initially saved the tobacco industry $145 billion. However, because the court upheld the evidence of wrongdoing and negligence on the part of the tobacco company, they provided an exception allowing thousands of former class members to file individual lawsuits. The ruling significantly impacted the tobacco industry, as it now faces the prospect of thousands of individual claims from former tobacco smokers.
In general, there are two things a plaintiff needs to prove to win damages against big tobacco in 2022: the harm suffered by the plaintiff and negligence by the tobacco company. Harm suffered is most easily proven with a diagnosis of a smoking-related illness. Negligence by the tobacco company can be more challenging to prove, but don't worry; this is where our expertise comes into play. At Tein Malone, we have the experience and know-how to help you prove these realities and ensure you receive the damages you deserve.