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Wrongful Death

Court Revives Lawsuit Against Tobacco Companies After Death of Woman’s Mother

September 5, 2014 | Michael Barasch

Kimberly Roden’s mother, Loretta, passed away in spring 2008, just four months after filing a personal injury lawsuit that claimed she was suffering from smoking. The lawsuit targeted companies including R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Philip Morris USA Inc., Lorillard Tobacco Co. and Liggett Group LC. After Loretta died, the companies filed for a case dismissal, arguing Loretta’s death invalidated the case.

However, Kimberly has now been able to convince the Fourth District Court of Appeals to amend the case to include a wrongful death stipulation. This amendment comes despite protests from the defendant companies that the statute of limitations on the case had already expired.

The reason for the court’s ruling in Kimberly’s favor was that personal injury cases are not voided under state law until the personal representative of the deceased’s estate is added to the lawsuit as a party and has an opportunity to amend the terms of the suit. The tobacco companies believed there was a two year statue of limitations in play that expired before Kimberly amended the suit, but Kimberly argued that the new claim was related to the original filing, and the Fourth District Court of Appeals agreed.

Because of this ruling by the Court of Appeals, it certainly appears as though Kimberly is en route to a successful lawsuit. There have been many successful claims filed against tobacco companies over the years, and there are likely to be numerous ways that her legal team will be able to prove liability on the part of these companies. The fact that the Fourth District Court of Appeals ruled in her favor because of the specific terms of the amendment despite the statute of limitations having passed is an interesting aspect to this case that will certainly affect the way future cases progress.

If someone close to you has suffered an injury or died because of years of smoking, consult the New York personal injury attorneys with [ln::firm_name] to find out if you might be able to take legal action.

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