The good news: C. Calvin Warriner III accomplished the seemingly impossible when he got a tobacco company to settle with an injured smoker.

The bad news: The settlement is worth just $100,000.

The amount accepted by Roslyn Marrazzo is peanuts compared with the Broward Circuit Court jury awards starting at $1.2 million in five lawsuits tried since February. Accounting for negligence attributed to smokers, the lower award works out to $600,000.

The cases stem from the Florida Supreme Court decision tossing a $145 billion class action verdict while allowing smokers to sue individually for damages.

Tobacco companies rarely settle. A number of attorneys asked about the settlement — Warriner included — said it was the only settlement they are aware of for a former class member.

Warriner, a partner at Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley in West Palm Beach, said he was “disappointed” by the settlement. Marrazzo is the daughter of Pasquale Charles Currao, who smoked primarily Liggett cigarettes starting at 12 in 1939 until he died of lung cancer in 1996. The New York native never quit.

“It was a good case, a very nice family with great stories about the smoker, about why he smoked and where and how he smoked and all the times he tried to quit and couldn’t,” Warriner said.

He said he didn’t have a figure in mind to propose to a jury, but it would have been a sure bet that the request would have been more than $100,000.

“There’s a track record in Broward County of multiple seven-figure awards on these cases,” Warriner said.

If tobacco companies settled all 350 pending Broward smoker cases for $100,000, the cost would be about $35 million.

Warriner sent a settlement offer to Liggett Group in March on behalf of Marrazzo with the case set for trial this year.

Ten days later, Liggett accepted the settlement.

Warriner said he didn’t know why Liggett settled.

Liggett’s New York attorney, Aaron Marks of Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman, declined to comment for this article.

Miami attorney Philip Gerson, who represents smokers and their families in a number of cases against cigarette makers but was not involved in the Marrazzo case, said Liggett is the only tobacco company that ever agrees to settle.

“They looked at it as a nuisance-value settlement, where the cost of trying would have greatly exceeded $100,000,” said Gerson of Gerson & Schwartz.

He said he hasn’t heard of any other settlements from the disbanded class action but has heard of other Liggett cases being “resolved” in the past.

Liggett Chairman Bennett S. LeBow broke ranks with other cigarette makers in 1996 when he acknowledged cigarette smoking is addictive and causes cancer. Liggett was the smallest of the five largest tobacco companies being sued by states and smokers.

Warriner said the Marrazzo settlement was all business for Liggett.

“The tobacco industry’s history and repeatedly announced intention to the court is to try every single one of their cases, and they will never settle,” Warriner said. “The Liggett people made a solid business decision at the expense of trying their case.”


This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

More From ALM

Premium Subscription

With this subscription you will receive unlimited access to high quality, online, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry. This is perfect for attorneys licensed in multiple jurisdictions or for attorneys that have fulfilled their CLE requirement but need to access resourceful information for their practice areas.
View Now

Team Accounts

Our Team Account subscription service is for legal teams of four or more attorneys. Each attorney is granted unlimited access to high quality, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry along with administrative access to easily manage CLE for the entire team.
View Now

Bundle Subscriptions

Gain access to some of the most knowledgeable and experienced attorneys with our 2 bundle options! Our Compliance bundles are curated by CLE Counselors and include current legal topics and challenges within the industry. Our second option allows you to build your bundle and strategically select the content that pertains to your needs. Both options are priced the same.
View Now

Pennsylvania Legal Awards 2021

June 24, 2021
Virtual

The Legal Intelligencer honors lawyers leaving a mark on the legal community in Pennsylvania with their dedication to law.


Register

Legalweek Leaders in Tech Awards 2021

July 16, 2021
Virtual

Recognizing innovation in the legal technology sector for working on precedent-setting, game-changing projects and initiatives.


Register

GlobeSt. Women of Influence Awards 2021

July 22, 2021
Park City, UT

GlobeSt. Women of Influence Conference celebrates the women who drive the commercial real estate industry forward.


Register

(EXCLUSIVE) IN-HOUSE CLAIMS ATTORNEY WANTED FOR LEADING PROVIDER OF PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE (Atlanta, GA)

Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Our client, a large provider of professional liability insurance, has engaged us to identify a qualified attorney for an immediate opening w...


Apply Now ›

Litigation Attorney

Oakland, California, United States

SF Bay Area office of nationally-known class action/complex litigation firm seeks stellar associate attorney with less than 5 years' experie...


Apply Now ›

Litigation Associate

Jacksonville, Florida, United States

A law firm with more than 20 attorneys in Northeast Florida is searching for associates to join its rapidly expanding team. The firm has an ...


Apply Now ›

CENTER CONTENT

06/21/2021
Connecticut Law Tribune


View Announcement ›

MARTIN CLEARWATER & BELL, LLP

06/15/2021
NYLJ Web

MARTIN, CLEARWATER & BELL LLP COUNSELORS AT LAW IN MEMORY OF FRANCIS PETER BENSEL


View Announcement ›

GILL & CHAMAS

06/14/2021
NJLJ Web

GILL & CHAMAS Congratulations to our partner and friend,DAVID H. LANDE, ESQ on his appointment to Judge in the Division of Workers Compensation.


View Announcement ›