A jury awarded more than $5.3 million to the family of a woman who died from her addiction to cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris.

Mary Goveia, 74, was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Orlando and died seven years later. The estate’s counsel claimed Goveia began smoking as a teen before health warnings were required on packs of cigarettes. The estate’s addiction experts testified her COPD was caused by smoking and the addiction contributed substantially to the disease.

Defense counsel contended Goveia was not addicted to nicotine and her COPD was not caused by smoking. The jury award included $4.5 million in punitive damages.

Case: Estate of Goveia v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco

Case No.: 2008-CA-760

Plaintiffs attorneys: Keith R. Mitnik, Orlando, and Gregory D. Prysock, Jacksonville, Morgan & Morgan

Defense attorneys: Walter L. Cofer, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, Kansas City, Mo.; Michele L. Johnson, Greenberg Traurig, Orlando; Deborah D. Kuchler, Kuchler Polk Schell Weiner & Richeson, New Orleans; Maria H. Ruiz, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, Miami; and Kurt D. Weaver, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, Raleigh, N.C.

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