Smoker Awarded $260,000 in Damages from Tobacco Company

Smoker Awarded $260,000 in Damages from Tobacco CompanyA toxic substances lawsuit that was once part of class-action litigation against tobacco company R.J. Reynolds has been resolved with a $260,000 verdict.

Leroy Kirkland will receive $250,000 in punitive damages and $10,000 in compensatory damages from the company, the Winston-Salem Journal reports. The plaintiff claimed that he had become ill after smoking Salem and Pall Mall cigarettes – the latter brand was acquired by R.J. Reynolds in 2004.

Kirkland's suit was once part of class-action toxic substances litigation before the Florida Supreme Court de-certified the suit in 2006, allowing all individual filers to seek damages from the tobacco company independently. All cases once under the litigation involve plaintiffs who smoked before laws went into effect mandating warning labels on tobacco products, and in most cases, they bear some responsibility for their smoking-related illness or death, according to the news source.

Prior to the de-certification of the class action suit, a lower court in Florida had awarded $145 billion in punitive damages to 700,000 ill smokers, according to Reuters. Kirkland's individual case sought more than $10 billion – reportedly the largest award ever requested by an individual plaintiff.

"We came up a little short, but we won," said Kirkland's toxic substances attorney.