On March 27, 2015 a team of Stark & Stark attorneys obtained a $2 million verdict from an Indian River County, Florida jury in a wrongful death suit against Philip Morris USA Inc. and R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. The verdict was a victory for widower Robert Gore, whose wife , Gloria, was a smoker for over four decades and suffered from carotid artery stenosis and later died of lung cancer.
In awarding the verdict, the jury asserted that Gloria Gore was 54-percent responsible for causing the illness that killed, while also asserting the balance of responsibility split evenly between R.J. Reynolds and Phillip Morris. The jury did not award any punitive damages, a reversal from an August 2014 mistrial after a jury verdict in this same case found the tobacco companies liable for punitive damages by awarded no compensatory damages.
This case was one of thousands that came from a 1994 class action law suit decertifying Engle v. Liggett Group Inc., which concluded that tobacco companies sold an addictive and dangerous product. Although the defense claimed that the deceased made the choice to smoke, prosecution explained, “Gloria wanted to stop. She tried to stop. She chose to stop, but her addiction wouldn’t let her.”