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Broward jury awards $157.4 million in historic win against cigarette companies

Edward Caprio (L) and Bryan Rintoul (R) celebrate their marriage in 2015.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Broward County jury awarded $157.4 million in a historic judgement against cigarette companies.

In the wrongful death lawsuit against Phillip Morris and the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the jury ruled in favor of Bryan Rintoul, whose spouse, Edward Caprio, had died of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in 2018 due to his cigarette addiction.

Florida law allows spouses to sue for wrongful death only if they were married before the person got sick. However, Jonathan Gdanski of Schlesinger Law Offices claimed the couple would have been married before Edward developed COPD in 1996 if same-sex marriages had been legal at the time.

Although the couple married in 2015, Rintoul and Caprio had been together since the 1970s.

The jury agreed and awarded Rintoul $9.2 million in compensatory damages and $148.2 million in punitive damages.