Monthly Archives: February 2015

Cigarette Maker is Finally Found Liable

The winning streak that Philip Morris USA, Inc. has been enjoying for years has finally broken, and with a bang. Florida resident Richard Boatright was awarded $35 million in compensatory and punitive damages (Philip Morris was found 85% liable, but also penalized for fraud and conspiracy) for his personal injury claim against the tobacco company. He had to undergo two lung transplants for medical conditions caused by cigarette smoking. And he is likely to be just the first of thousands to make a successful bid for compensation for health problems caused by cigarette smoking.

It is common knowledge now that cigarette smoking is extremely hazardous to the health, but back in the 1960s, it was an uphill battle for plaintiffs to prove that tobacco companies had a measure of liability for their failure to warn and misleading and unconscionable (they targeted children) marketing tactics. It took years, and many appeals before the Supreme Court finally ruled that the defenses used by tobacco companies to avoid the consequences of their liabilities, including that of preemption, did not apply to the personal injury cases brought before them.

Even 46 states have made a claim against the tobacco companies in 1998 where it became apparent that:

  • Nicotine, a component of tobacco, is addictive
  • There was a causal link between cigarette smoking and certain diseases
  • Tobacco companies knew but concealed evidence about these facts since the 1960s

The states sued tobacco companies for the medical costs of tobacco-related illnesses, which eventually resulted in the Master Settlement Agreement for $206 billion.

However, it may be too early to celebrate. Tobacco companies are notorious for dodging the liability bullet; a 2000 class action (Engle v. Liggett Group, Inc.) $145 billion verdict representing about 8,000 plaintiff was vacated in 2006 because the cases were not appropriate for a class action lawsuit, and was decertified. Each plaintiff was allowed to re-file their cases as individuals, but it was only in 2014 when the first of the so-called “Engle Progeny” finally saw justice. Only time will reveal if tobacco companies will finally pay the piper.

According to the website of Pohl & Berk, LLP, if you have just recently discovered that you have a medical condition caused by cigarette smoking, you could still make a claim. Contact a personal injury lawyer in your area to gain a better understanding of your legal options.

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What to Expect when Storing your Stuff

When you find yourself with more stuff than you have space for in your home, the most practical move for you is to sell them or give them away. If you can’t bring yourself to do that, then your next best alternative is to rent storage space, unless you want to be featured in a television show about hoarders. However, you need to know what to expect to pay when storing your stuff. Once you have a clear money-wise picture, then you are equipped to make an educated decision.

Note that this is for self-storage. Other fees may apply if you engage a company to package, transport, and store your stuff for you. While the fee may be high, the convenience is worth it.

The costs of self-storage will vary from company to company and depending on the size of the unit. At Pond Springs Mini Storage, for example, the smallest you can get is a 5 ft x 5 ft unit. We will list the average costs for various items that you can expect for a unit of this size, just to give you an idea. This is not a comprehensive or exact costing, so make sure to find out the exact costs from your chosen self-storage company.

Recurring Costs (Monthly)

Unit rental $55.00
Administration fees $15.00
Insurance $15.00

Onetime Costs

Security deposit $40.00
Padlocks $20.00

The costs pile up, don’t they? However, self-storage is a practical solution to your space problems at home. If you choose a good company for your self-storage, you may eventually decide to sell and your items will be in good condition. Make sure that your storage company has reasonable security and pest control measures in place and that you can access your unit any time you want. If you got a climate-controlled unit, have them put what their climate control measures are in writing, just in case.

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