updated 4/14/2011 12:16:43 PM ET 2011-04-14T16:16:43

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla., April 14, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A Palm Beach County jury on Wednesday awarded 87-year old Mary Tullo of Lake Worth, Florida $4.5 million in her lawsuit against four tobacco companies in the death of her husband Dominick Tullo, a lifelong smoker who was addicted to nicotine.

Mr. Tullo was stricken with lung cancer in 1996 and died two years later at age 74. He was a security guard for the United Nations before retiring to South Florida in 1986. He was married to his wife for 52 years. This is the second so-called Engle Progeny case to go to trial in Palm Beach County, so named for a class action lawsuit that paved the way for individual smokers or their survivors to bring individual causes of action against the tobacco companies. The two-and a-half week trial was heard before Palm Beach Circuit Judge Meenu Sasser. Steven J. Hammer    and Jonathan R. Gdanski, attorneys with the Schlesinger Law Offices  in Fort Lauderdale, Florida represented Mrs. Tullo in the case.

"Mr. Tullo died because these tobacco companies failed to warn the public for years about the addictive nature of their products, even though they knew full well how dangerous they were," said Hammer. 

"The addiction affected Mr. Tullo's free choice to stop smoking and I think that's what the jury recognized today," said Gdanski. "While the verdict can't bring Mr. Tullo back, it gives his wife some sense of satisfaction that justice has been served."

The jury found that the four defendant tobacco companies were 55% to blame for Mr. Tullo's addiction. Tullo himself was found 45% responsible, and as a result, the award will be reduced accordingly. Of the 55% liability for tobacco companies, 45% of the blame went to Philip Morris USA, 5% to Lorillard Tobacco Company and 5% for Liggett Group Inc. The fourth defendant, R.J. Reynolds was not found liable.

About Schlesinger Law Offices:

Schlesinger Law Offices, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 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 medication, defective medical devices, and defective drug products. For more information, log on to  www.schlesingerlawoffices.com .

CONTACT: Media Contact:
         Todd Templin, Boardroom Communications
         954-290-0810 (Cell)

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