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Widow of chain smoker wins $23.6BILLION in damages from tobacco company she sued over his death….

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A Florida jury has slammed the nation’s No. 2 cigarette maker, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., with $23.6 billion in punitive damages in a lawsuit filed by the widow of a longtime smoker who died of lung cancer in 1996.

The case is one of thousands filed in Florida after the state Supreme Court in 2006 tossed out a $145 billion class action verdict. That ruling also said smokers and their families need only prove addiction and that smoking caused their illnesses or deaths.

Last year, Florida’s highest court re-approved that decision, which made it easier for sick smokers or their survivors to pursue lawsuits against tobacco companies without having to prove to the court again that Big Tobacco knowingly sold dangerous products and hid the hazards of cigarette smoking.

Addiction: A 2006 ruling determined that smokers and their families need only prove addiction and that smoking caused their illnesses or deaths

The damages a Pensacola jury awarded Friday to Cynthia Robinson after a four-week trial come in addition to $16.8 million in compensatory damages.

Robinson individually sued Reynolds in 2008 on behalf of her late husband, Michael Johnson Sr. Her attorneys said the punitive damages are the largest of any individual case stemming from the original class action lawsuit.

‘The jury wanted to send a statement that tobacco cannot continue to lie to the American people and the American government about the addictiveness of and the deadly chemicals in their cigarettes,’ said one of the woman’s attorneys, Christopher Chestnut.

Reynolds’ vice president and assistant general counsel, J. Jeffery Raborn, called the damages in Robinson’s case ‘grossly excessive and impermissible under state and constitutional law.’

‘This verdict goes far beyond the realm of reasonableness and fairness, and is completely inconsistent with the evidence presented,’ Raborn said in a statement. ‘We plan to file post-trial motions with the trial court promptly, and are confident that the court will follow the law and not allow this runaway verdict to stand.’

The lawsuit’s goal was to stop tobacco companies from targeting children and young people with their advertising, said Willie Gary, another attorney representing Robinson.

‘If we don’t get a dime, that’s OK, if we can make a difference and save some lives,’ Gary said.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court turned away cigarette manufacturers’ appeals of more than $70 million in court judgments to Florida smokers. Reynolds, Philip Morris USA Inc. and Lorillard Tobacco Co. had wanted the court to review cases in which smokers won large damage awards without having to prove that the companies sold a defective and dangerous product or hid the risks of smoking.

The Supreme Court refused to hear another of the companies’ appeals last year, wanting the court to consider overturning a $2.5 million Tampa jury verdict in the death of a smoker.

Other Florida juries have hit tobacco companies with tens of millions of dollars in punitive damages in lawsuits stemming from the original class action lawsuit.

In August, a Fort Lauderdale jury awarded $37.5 million, including $22.5 million in punitive damages against Reynolds, to the family of a smoker who died at age 38 of lung cancer in 1995.

Attorneys for Reynolds said they would appeal, arguing that the woman knew the dangers of smoking because cigarettes had warning labels when she started. The attorney for the woman’s family said teenagers like her were targeted by tobacco companies.

Reynolds' vice president and assistant general counsel, J. Jeffery Raborn, called the damages in Robinson's case "grossly excessive and impermissible under state and constitutional law"

Some large jury verdicts awarding tens of millions of dollars in damages to relatives of smokers have been upheld by appeals courts.

In September, the 3rd District Court of Appeals affirmed $25 million in punitive damages and $10 million in compensatory damages against Lorillard, the country’s No. 3 cigarette maker, for Dorothy Alexander, whose husband died in 1996 of lung cancer. Lorillard, based in Greensboro, North Carolina, unsuccessfully argued the damages were excessive and raised a number of other claims.

The 1st District Court of Appeals upheld in June 2013 a $20 million punitive damage award to another smoker’s widow, more than a year after reversing a $40.8 million award in the same case against Reynolds. After the appeals court rejected the first award as excessive the award amount was recalculated. The tobacco company still objected.

Philip Morris is the country’s biggest tobacco company and owned by Richmond, Virginia-based Altria Group Inc. Reynolds is owned by Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Reynolds American Inc.

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Controversial Sterling Bank caught in the act! CBN sanctions, parades officials for hoarding new naira notes [VIDEO]

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Officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have discovered N6 million of the new naira notes hoarded in Sterling Bank Plc, Ado Ekiti branch on Bank Road, Ado Ekiti in Ekiti State, having received the funds for over two weeks, THE WITNESS reports.

 

In a trending video on social media, seen by THE WITNESS, a man who identified himself as Oluwole Owoeye, a deputy director of CBN, while monitoring the distribution of the new naira notes in the state, was seen questioning the bank officials as to why they have not uploaded the funds into their Automated Teller Machines, (ATMs), despite having six of the machines in place.

 

The CBN director also announced a fine of N1 million for each day the fund was in the bank’s custody.

 

The CBN official said, “I am currently at Sterling Bank, on Bank Road as part of the new naira notes monitoring compliance with the guidelines by CBN. They have N6 million, which they collected from the bank for almost two weeks, they have not disbursed any. They said they are yet to configure their ATMs, I do not know why that and I have brought attention to the penalty clause of N1 million per day, because they have five ATMs here, they have no reason for keeping this money.

 

“The zonal service manager, Tunde Onipede promised that by 10:00am latest tomorrow (Monday), because I told him by latest 10:00 am I’ll be here and I want to see the machine dispensing this money.

 

“What is the name again? Olumide Owolabi (Service Manager, Ado) & Motunrayo Babayele. My name is Oluwole Owoeye and I am a deputy director of CBN.”

 

WATCH VIDEO HERE:

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FCMB Manager Arrested For Hoarding New Naira Notes

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A manager of the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) branch in Osogbo, Osun State capital, has been arrested for allegedly preventing Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) loaded with cash from dispensing money to customers.

The spokesperson of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offenses Commission (ICPC), Azuka Ogugua, in a statement on Friday said the cash bundles were loaded into the ATMs while still wrapped, and as such, could not be dispensed through the machines

“The ICPC Compliance Team in Osogbo has busted an FCMB in Osogbo, Osun State, where some ATMs were loaded with cash with their wrappers un-removed, thus preventing the cash from being dispensed.

“The Team, therefore, directed that the wrappers be removed, and the cash loaded properly’.

Similarly, seven Point of Sale (POS) operators as well as a security guard were arrested during the ongoing exercise in Osun State for charging exorbitant commissions for cash.

Investigations, however, revealed that they got the money from Filling Stations that collect new notes from fuel buyers, but they then resell the cash to the public at exorbitant rates.

The arrested persons are helping the Commission with information to assist investigations and bust any syndicates involved in the hoarding or sales of the redesigned notes.

 

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New naira: ICPC arrests Stanbic IBTC Bank manager over sabotage

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), has arrested an official of Stanbic IBTC Bank in Abuja for alleged sabotage.

The ICPC spokesperson, Azuka Ogugua, said the development was in continuation of ICPC’s clampdown on elements frustrating efforts in making the redesigned Naira notes available to members of the public.

The bank official, who is the branch service head of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Deidei Branch in Abuja, was taken into custody for her deliberate refusal to upload cash into the branch’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) even when the cash was available and people were queuing at the ATM points.

The statement reads: “When the ICPC monitoring team stormed the bank at about 1:30pm on Friday to ensure compliance, and demanded explanation as to why all the ATMs were not dispensing cash, the team was informed by the branch’s head of operations that the bank just got delivery of the cash.

“However, facts available to the ICPC operatives indicated that the branch took delivery of the cash earlier around 11:58am and either willfully or maliciously refused to feed the ATMs with the cash.

“Against this backdrop, the ICPC team compelled the bank to load the ATMs with the redesigned Naira notes and ensured that they were all dispensing before arresting the culprit.

“The ICPC said investigations were still ongoing and the Commission will take appropriate actions as soon they are concluded.

“Similarly, seven Point of Sale (PoS) operators as well as a security guard were arrested during an ongoing exercise in Osun State for charging exorbitant commissions for cash.

“Investigations, however, revealed that they got the money from Filling Stations that collect new notes from fuel buyers, but they then resell the cash to the public at exorbitant rates.

“The arrested persons were helping the anti-graft commission with information to assist investigations and bust other syndicates involved in the hoarding and sales of the redesigned Naira notes,” the anti-graft agency said.

 

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