Vivian Wilkinson was a former bartender who passed away from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) after smoking cigarettes for more than 40 years. Kelley | Uustal attorney Eric Rosen has been representing Ms. Wilkinson’s children, who claim that her fatal disease resulted from an addiction to cigarettes containing nicotine manufactured by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and other cigarette manufacturers. The Plaintiff also claimed that R.J. Reynolds engaged in a decade’s long conspiracy to conceal critical information about the health effects and addictive nature of their products.
After a two and a half week trial starting on April 6, 2016, jurors awarded her two children $1.5 million each. The jury also found that R.J. Reynolds fraud and conspiracy were both a legal cause of Ms. Wilkinson’s death and concluded that punitive damages were warranted against the cigarette manufacturer. On April 22, jurors imposed a $10 million punitive damage verdict on R.J. Reynolds for its role in Vivian Wilkinson’s death, boosting the total award to $13 million.