Norma R. Broin v Philip Morris, et al.

Eleventh Circuit Court, Dade County, Florida, General Jurisdiction Division
The Honorable Robert Paul Kaye presiding

Broin

Filed 1991

Seven non-smoking flight attendant filed a class action suit against the six major cigarette manufacturers for second-hand smoke exposure. The cigarette companies agreed to settle the case, which provided $300 million to set up a medical research foundation.

Plaintiff Attorneys: Stanley and Susan Rosenblatt
Defendant attorneys:  Jones Day Reavis & Pogue; Hugh R Whiting Anderson. Moss, Sherouse & Petros; Edward A. Moss, Thomasina Moore. Greenberg, Traurig, Hoffman, Lipoff, Rosen & Quentel; David L Ross. Shook Hardy & Bacon; David Hardy, Walter Cofer Bobby Woo, Martha Warren. King & Spaulding; Michael Russ. Debevoise & Plimpton; Joseph R. Moodhe. Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman; Marie V Santacroce. Martinez & Gutierrez; Jose Martinez. Womble Carlyle Sandbridge & Rice; Jeffrey Furr

Timeline

  • 1991 – October 31: Case filed
  • Judge Kaye decertifies the class.
  • 1994 – March 15: Florida Third District Court of Appeals reverses the judgment, and remands the case.
  • 1994 – November 22: Judge Kaye certifies class except as to elements of causation and damages.
  • 1994 – December 12: Court rules that the case can proceed as a class action.
  • 1996 – December: Court authorizes mass notification of 150-200,000 flight attendants to sign up as plaintiffs or exclude themselves.
  • 1997 – June 2: Trial commences.
  • 1997 – October 10: Parties announce proposed settlement.
  • 1998 – February 3: Judge Kaye approves settlement.
  • 1999 – March 24: Three individuals object to the settlement, but the Third Circuit Court of Appeal unanimously denies their appeal.
  • 1999 – September: Final judicial approval of settlement.
  • 2000 – October: Judge holds that subsequent plaintiffs would not be required to prove liability in negligence, strict liability, and breach of implied warrant claims. Trials are limited to whether plaintiffs’ injuries were caused by exposure to second-hand smoke and the amount of the damages.

Flight Attendant Class Action for Secondhand Tobacco Smoke Exposure

Seven current and former flight attendants who did not smoke filed a suit against the six major cigarette manufacturers because they contracted lung cancer and other ailments or they faced an increased risk of tobacco-related diseases due to inhaling second-hand tobacco smoke on airplanes. The plaintiffs were seeking class action status on behalf of 60,000 non-smoking flight attendants, with the class defined as all non-smoking flight attendants who are or have been employed by airlines based in the United States who are suffering from diseases and disorders caused by their exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke in airline cabins.

Representative plaintiffs in the case were Norma R. Broin, Linda D. Anderson, Mildred McQuown, Colleen Stevens, Patricia Young, Marilyn Mittan, Patricia Critenden, Nancy Fossey Strickland, Donna O’Neil, Lynne Marie Blinkco, Dennis Stanley, Judy Lee, Yvonne Treasure, Pamela L. Johnson, David Johanson, Karen McNally, Jill M. Applegate, Sharon C. Miller, Lani Blissard, Eloise Smith, Marisa L. Mitchell, Pamela J. Orozco, Gregory Scott Strang, Betty Young as personal representative of the estate of Alfred Lee, and Michael Coy as personal representative of the estate of Carol Ann Coy.

The case was heard in the Circuit Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in and for Dade County, Florida, General Jurisdiction Division before the Honorable Robert Paul Kaye. The judge decertified the class. The Honorable Judges Baskin, Gerstner, and Goodrich of the Florida Third District Court of Appeal heard the appeal and reversed the judgment, ruling that class action treatment was appropriate for the class of 60,000 flight attendants.

The cigarette companies agreed to settle the case, which provided $300 million to set up a medical research foundation. The Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute (FAMRI) was established in 2001, and is the only research foundation in the world dedicated to support research on the health risks of secondhand smoke. The Broin settlement also allowed individual class members to pursue their injury claims in court.

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