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Lawyers prep legal tsunami for big tobacco [08/21/2006]

Lawyers prep legal tsunami for big tobacco

PALM BEACH, Fla. (UPI) -- The recent decision by a U.S. judge that U.S. tobacco companies engaged in racketeering will open flood gates of litigation, a trial lawyer said.

Cal Warriner of the Florida law firm Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley said over the weekend that he expects more than 100,000 cases to be filed in his state alone since last week's ruling against cigarette makers.

"It appears that a groundswell of legal precedent is mounting to finally put addicted cigarette smoking victims on an even playing field with billion-dollar tobacco companies," Warriner said in a statement.

He said that the federal decision plus a recent Florida Supreme Court's recent ruling will result in as many as 100,000 individual smokers lawsuits being filed in Florida.

Warriner's firm expects to file hundreds of such suits.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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