SOURCE: Schlesinger Law Offices

November 25, 2014 15:07 ET

Fort Lauderdale Law Firm Wins $4 Million Verdict Against 3 Cigarette Companies

Palm Beach Jury: 'Big Tobacco' to Blame for Man's Cancer, COPD

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL--(Marketwired - November 25, 2014) - A South Florida jury found three tobacco companies partially responsible for the lung cancer of a smoker and awarded more than $4 million to the man's estate.

In its finding against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Philip Morris USA Inc., and Lorillard Tobacco Company, the jury found that Nicholas Perrotto was addicted to cigarette smoking and that smoking cigarettes manufactured by the companies were the legal cause of Perrotto's lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.

"Nicholas Perrotto was not a statistic. He was a family man who succumbed to a product the tobacco companies told him was safe from when he was a teenager," said Jonathan Gdanski, who represented the family, along with attorneys Steven J. Hammer and Brittany Chambers, all of the Schlesinger Law Offices. Hardee Bass with Searcy Denney was co-counsel on the case, which was brought by Debra Perrotto, the widow and personal representative of the estate of her husband, Nicholas Perrotto. "This is the typical case where the product, when used according to directions, killed the consumer."

Born in 1939 in New Jersey, Nicholas Perrotto was 12 years old when he started smoking cigarettes. He was a regular smoker when he and his wife, Debra, relocated to Boca Raton in the 1970s and had a son.

In late 1992, at the age of 52, Perrotto was diagnosed with lung cancer. This was even after he had switched to brands Merit and Merit Ultra Lights, products created for addicted smokers concerned about cigarettes' harmful effects. He underwent an aggressive regimen of radiation and chemotherapy before surgery to remove a lobe of his lung. Radiation following the surgery resulted in permanent scarring of his lung tissue.

In August 1996, Perrotto suffered a seizure, which was caused by the cancer spreading from his lungs to his brain. He had a craniotomy to remove most of tumor from his brain, though doctors were unsuccessful in removing the entire tumor.

Nicholas Perrotto was 56 when he died in 1996, leaving behind his wife and teenage son. Unable to survive financially with the loss of her husband's income, Debra Perrotto lost the family home to foreclosure.

On November 21, jurors deliberated for less than five hours on before returning their verdict. The jury awarded $87,338 in medical damages and $4 million for Nicholas Perrotto's pain and suffering from tobacco-related lung cancer. The jury found the tobacco companies 51% responsible for Perrotto's diseases.

"The message here is the jury held the tobacco companies responsible for the disease their products caused Mr. Perrotto. It's an unfortunate truth that the industry-driven epidemic of addiction and disease continues unabated in this country," continued attorney Steven Hammer.


Based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Schlesinger Law Offices is a personal injury law firm focused on holding big corporations and major manufacturers accountable for the harm they cause and the damage suffered by the general public through acts of negligence and misconduct. The firm is currently working on cases involving Big Tobacco, Accutane, Takata airbags, medication, defective medical devices, and defective drug products. For more information, visit

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