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migrated-stock-00216In a recent $17 million verdict against Lorillard Tobacco Company, Terrell Hogan attorneys, Evan YegelwelAngelo Patacca and Bruce Anderson obtained a verdict for $6 million in compen­satory damages for the death of Jacqueline Miller who began smoking Old Gold unfil­tered cigarettes in 1946 as a teenager and died of lung cancer 48 years later.

The three-week Jacksonville trial was a result of legal action spanning several years, pursued by Ms. Miller’s personal repre­sen­tative, daughter Michelle Mrozek.  The case centered on evidence that Lorillard clouded the truth about cigarettes and marketed its cigarettes as attractive and sophis­ti­cated, even after the surgeon general issued warnings about the potential health risks of smoking.

The month-long trial was the first post-Engle case tried against tobacco manufac­turer Lorillard in Florida and the first win by a tobacco claimant in Duval County after four previous victories by the tobacco industry.   During the trial Anderson acknowl­edged that Miller bore some respon­si­bility “for smoking the cigarettes that caused her to suffer lung cancer.” But he told the Jury that “Lorillard Tobacco Company also made choices. They made inten­tional choices … that were influ­enced by money.”

migrated-stock-00021During the closing argument, Patacca told the jury, “It is so important to take [the jury] back to that time,” and explain that although Miller continued to smoke, she switched to a filtered cigarette and later to a longer cigarette, both marketed by the tobacco industry as being safer and better for smokers.

In his closing rebuttal Patacca explained to the jury, “I would submit to you that you have no evidence to suggest — other than being regulated and told what to do — there have been no changes in the mentality and the intent of the company. The only difference is now they want to be applauded because they follow the law.”   Following two days of delib­er­ation, the jury found that Miller was partially accountable for her own death, but allocated 65 percent of the blame against the cigarette company. Ultimately, the jury assigned $11.3 million in punitive damages against Lorillard and awarded $6 million in compen­satory damages.

Terrell Hogan attorneys are no strangers to litigation against the cigarette industry.   In 1997, attorney Wayne Hogan was part of the legal team that success­fully repre­sented the State of Florida resulting in a $17 billion settlement that also forced the cigarette industry to remove all billboard adver­tising and retire “Joe Camel” and the “Marlboro Man” in the state.