Wednesday, July 18, 2018
News Roundup

Plaintiff in Hernando tobacco case likely to take stand

BROOKSVILLE — John Rizzuto, the 66-year-old retired letter carrier at the center of the first tobacco lawsuit to go to trial in Hernando County, is expected to take the stand Wednesday morning for the first time, according to his attorney, Brent Bigger.

His trial, which started last week, was six years in the making.

Rizzuto filed suit against Philip Morris USA and Liggett Group in 2007, claiming they are partly to blame for his lung disease. Years of legal wrangling followed.

In opening statements on Aug. 15, Bigger explained why companies should pay his client compensatory and punitive damages, even though Rizzuto was the one who put the cigarettes in his mouth for four decades.

Rizzuto is claiming a right to damages as a member of the so-called Engle class. In 1994, a class-action suit was certified in Miami that became known as the Engle case for lead plaintiff and Miami pediatrician Howard Engle.

Observers say Rizzuto's is the first case to go to trial in Hernando. The jury must decide if he was addicted and, if so, whether his chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, or COPD, was caused by that addiction.

Bigger told jurors that Rizzuto started smoking regularly at age 13. He preferred L&Ms and Marlboro Reds and would smoke one to two packs a day.

Rizzuto now has severe emphysema and one-third the typical lung capacity of a man his age and size, Bigger said. He needs oxygen at night and carries an inhaler.

Comments
Group suing to save historic site from toll road construction gives up

Group suing to save historic site from toll road construction gives up

The group that briefly blocked the construction of the Suncoast 2 toll road through Hernando and Citrus counties has now waved the white flag.The Friends of Etna Turpentine Camp, who were trying to save the historic site in the Withlacoochee State Fo...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Editorial: Scott should order investigation of concealed weapons permitting

Editorial: Scott should order investigation of concealed weapons permitting

To his credit, Gov. Rick Scott says he is considering requests to order an independent investigation of how Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnamís office screens applications for concealed weapon permits. Itís a reasonable request, and the governor h...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
While City Hall prepared, hawks acted to reduce Yborís chicken flock

While City Hall prepared, hawks acted to reduce Yborís chicken flock

TAMPA ó While some residents squawked and chicken defenders bristled about proposals for dealing with Ybor Cityís historic flock of mostly wild fowl, the hawks glided in.By most accounts, nature has restored a good measure of equilibrium in the six w...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Rays reinstate discount pizza promotion with Papa Johnís after corporate action

Rays reinstate discount pizza promotion with Papa Johnís after corporate action

The Rays reinstated the discount pizza promotion with Papa John's based on actions taken by corporate officials after the ouster of founder John Schnatter following reports he used a racial slur.The Rays had suspended the promotion, which offers half...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Dan Mullenís old team will be better than his new one. Thatís a good thing

Dan Mullenís old team will be better than his new one. Thatís a good thing

ATLANTA — The difference between where the Gators are and where they could be showed up in back-to-back days behind a podium at the College Football Hall of Fame.On Tuesday, first-year Florida coach Dan Mullen said the program he inherited...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Star cornerback, onetime Buc Darrelle Revis retiring after 11 NFL seasons

Star cornerback, onetime Buc Darrelle Revis retiring after 11 NFL seasons

Revis Island is closed for business. Darrelle Revis, a star cornerback with the New York Jets, a Super Bowl winner with their archrivals, the New England Patriots, and a onetime Buc, has retired. Revis announced Wednesday on social media that he was ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Deputies search for suspect in shooting of Dunedin woman

DUNEDIN ó A woman was shot and wounded Wednesday afternoon in what deputies are calling a possible home invasion.The incident took place at is 1144 New York Ave., according to the Pinellas County Sheriffís Office, near Main Street.The injured woman w...
Updated: 1 hour ago
St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership hires new CEO from Salt Lake City

St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership hires new CEO from Salt Lake City

ST. PETERSBURG ó The nonprofit St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership on Wednesday said it has hired Jason Mathis as its new CEO.Mathis has more than 20 years of nonprofit experience, including serving as executive director of the Downtown Alliance in S...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Epilogue: Carolyn Nelson is remembered for her big heart, a love for education and a gift for guidance

Epilogue: Carolyn Nelson is remembered for her big heart, a love for education and a gift for guidance

For years as a guidance counselor at St. Petersburg High, Carolyn Harris Nelson helped scores of students navigate their way toward their next steps in life.One of them was Ryan Halstead, now an assistant principal at the school, who recalls that Mrs...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Video shows a Polk County store clerk shooting a man who was stealing Natural Ice beer

Video shows a Polk County store clerk shooting a man who was stealing Natural Ice beer

A Lakeland convenience store clerk has been charged with attempted second-degree murder after he chased and shot a man who walked out with $36 worth of Natural Ice beer.Mehedeun Hasan, 22, and his father Q M Monsur Rahman, 61, were behind the counter...
Updated: 1 hour ago