>  News   >  Brannock & Humphries Helps Dawn Schlefstein’s Family Recover Over $41 Million From R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

Brannock & Humphries Helps Dawn Schlefstein’s Family Recover Over $41 Million From R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

After a multi-week trial, during which Brannock & Humphries provided appellate support, a Broward County jury awarded more than $41 million to the family of a deceased smoker.

Dawn Schlefstein’s family filed suit against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company because of R.J. Reynolds’ admitted, decades-long conduct of intentionally manipulating its cigarettes to be as addictive as heroine and cocaine, all-the-while concealing its efforts from the American public and the United States Government – including lying under oath to Congress in the 1990s.  R.J. Reynolds also concealed that it knew since the early 1900s that smoking causes many deadly illnesses. 

Dawn Schlefstein was a regular smoker by the time she was 16, continuing to smoke a pack or more of cigarettes a day for at least 30 years, until she was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 1995.  Despite quitting, the disease became so serious that she ultimately underwent a left lung transplant in 2001.  Sadly, she died in 2009.  

Nine years later, a Broward County jury found that Dawn suffered from nicotine addiction and that her addictive smoking caused her COPD.  After deliberating for more than six hours, the jury awarded Dawn’s family nearly $14 million to compensate them for Dawn’s medical expenses and for the extreme pain and suffering.   

The jury then deliberated again to impose an additional nearly $28 million in punitive damages to punish R.J. Reynolds for its shockingly reprehensible conduct and to discourage big companies from ever repeating this type of conduct.   

Brannock & Humphries is honored to have provided appellate support at trial to the top-flight trial attorneys helping Dawn’s family – Alex Alvarez, Gary Paige, Michael Alvarez, Phil Holden, Cassie Lombard, Nicholas Reyes, and Kristian Toimil.  Brannock & Humphries is also pleased to have once again partnered with Baron Philipson of Legal-eze.  Next stop is the Fourth District Court of Appeal, where Brannock & Humphries will work to prevent R.J. Reynolds from overturning the jury’s verdict.