What? No opinions on the FL tobacco settlement?

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I am no longer a smoker. I am one of those tasty people who avoid smokers. I have no doubt that Big Tobacco has knowingly pedaled a deadly product. But I don't agree with this class action judgement. People need to be responsible for their own behavior. This suit is bogus IMO.

There are many ironies here. Big government wants to protect us from evil corporations but big government is as addicted to the tax revenues of big tobacco as the smokers are to their cancer sticks.

Big government wants to protect us from harmful addictions but big government markets the hell out of it's own mopolistic, addictive product: legalized gambling.

Some people want the government to prohibit dangerous products that are already legal (tobacco, alcohol, fat foods, fire arms) while some other people (sometimes the same people) want the government to legalize dangerous products that are already illegal (narcotics, porn, prostitution). Oh, porn and prostitution are "victimless"? Right, and sexual predators are simply doing their own thing.

This all gets complicated in a hurry. We live in an interactive world where one individual's rights often conflict with another person's rights. But returning to the original issue, I must say that IMO it is wrong to require the tobacco companies (and their tens of thousands of employees) to pay 100 billion in damages to the smokers of FL and the lawyers who represent them.

-- Lars (lars@indy.net), July 15, 2000


Government over steps their bounds all the time. With a Republic it is for the all the people to do what they what to do with out someone else sticking their nose in. Freeman and gonna stay that way!

-- ET (bneville@zebra.net), July 15, 2000.

Basically, what we are talking about here is a jury that sat for many weeks, hearing a barrage of evidence about what the big tobacco companies did, and what kind of havoc their products caused, and then venting their anger over what they heard by doing what they could to punish those companies for their actions.

By contrast, I have was a smoker for 12 years and then quit. I also read a few paragraphs of the many news articles over the past 3 years or so that exposed what the tobacco companies deliberately said and did to preserve their market for cancer sticks.

Generally speaking, I let juries (who have heard the evidence) exercise their common sense, and I honor them for occasionally venting their frustration or outrage. The chances that this judgement will stand are between slim and none. But, if I were on the jury I might have voted with them.

Politics will eventually exert its influence over this judgement. it will be scaled back. But I, for one, am glad to hear 12 "good and true" have their say in the process. They are merely expressing their distaste at being lied to, manipulated and jerked around. Good on them!

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), July 15, 2000.

Not sure about this, Lars. I have a bit of a problem with the "class action" status". If these people started smoking prior to the warnings being issued, I'd say yeah, they have a case. But if they started smoking after the warnings had been issued, I think it's kind of iffy.

But I have to agree with Brian.....enough is enough with "being lied to and manipulated". If they (the jury) want to vent, let them. These bastards have gotten so many people hooked (and it seems intentionally); and while it may be easy for one to quit, it can be virtually impossible for another; warnings or no warnings.

Kind of wish the judgment would stick, though I think I know better.

-- Patricia (PatriciaS@lasvegas.com), July 15, 2000.

I was struck by the greed of the attorneys and the naiviety of the Jury. It only took them 5 hours to award $143 Billion as punitive damages. Lets see now if the smoker's attorneys get one third of the increase they will pocket roughly $45 Billion after expenses. The American way. They are worth almost as much as Bill Gates on one case. There was another story that the Florida Legislature passed a bill to limit the bond required to appeal a case. Under the old rule, the appealant had to post a bond of 110 per cent of the verdict to file the appeal. Lets see now, the tobacco companies pull $155 out of petty cash to post the bond or pay 10 per cent of the bond amount to the bonding company. How will they get a bond? Now there will be a lawsuit on whether on not the new law is retroactive. This is Justice. There aint no Justice. The law is people milking the system for their own advantage.

In another context, if there are 20 million people in Florida, and every resident was a smoker and got a share of the verdict, each would get over $7,000. Is this a paly to force a settlement? A punitive damage award of $1 Billion would be excessive. The State was so stupid that the attorney fees claimed on the first tobacco settlement were like 25 per cent of 8Billion? then there was a fight because the settlement was much higher than expected. Granted the tobacco companies acted badly but why should the attorneys get rich on punitive damages. Award the damages for death, pain and suffering, medical expenses, funeral expenses etc. and not on some nebulout concept of punishing the industry for past sins. These same idiots are deciding important cases that affect us all. For example, partial birth abortion would be murder if taken 1 minute later after the baby had come out yet it is OK to suck out the babys brains as long as it is done before the baby is completely out. A Supreme Court decision. The founders of this courntry must be rolling over in their graves.

-- Ed (Ed@amazed.gom), July 15, 2000.

My Ancestors smoked the peace pipe. Of course that was pure tobacco then. Many lived to an old age. I am not, on a reservation, you would not know I had once ounce of Indian, if you saw me. I think the now day tobacco makers are no different than the chicken/beef harvesters who have to put all kinds of additives to farm feed, to beef up production. Man made additives, some harmful to human existence. I am so glad that I am past the point of being obsessed with which can or can't prolong my physical existence. I see those joggers, about to fall over, and they fan away the smoke from my cigarette. They get broken bones, wear casts, I have never. They think all their effort will extend their life forever. Foolish people.

-- Church Fan (h@ndwaver.com), July 16, 2000.

Tobacco Settlement,no.Only a rip-off Opportunity for the Lawyers.Since all these Tobacco Companies are diversified into Food and other Commodities,You the dumb Consumers,smoking or not,are going to pay for the entire Circus.The Corporate Criminals,Polluters and other Corporate Scum will continue to run around loose,looking for their next Victims,unprotected by YOUR Government and Laws.Have You noticed the "generic Cigarette Commercials" lately,regardless what"NEWS" the networks and the Cig.Companies dream up,it always shows Young and old "enjoying"a smoke.

-- eating drinking smoking (why@why.why?), July 16, 2000.

It only took them 5 hours to award $143 Billion as punitive damages.

While it may seem that the jurors came to a snap judgment based on the short deliberation time, I think a three-phase trial over a two years period gave them AMPLE time to fairly consider the merits of the case.

Immediately after the verdict was announced, one of the attorneys representing the tobacco companies made a statement on CNN. In essence his position was "So what?" From what he indicated, it will take 50 or 60 years to separately hear and resolve the individual cases of the class-action suit, and his clients weren't too terribly concerned about the ramifications that may or may not come about for several decades. So we scored another victory in theory, but the reality is something entirely different.

-- LunaC (MoreToIt@LawyersAreScum.com), July 16, 2000.

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