HeartCare Articles. Save. Your. Heart.

600 Dollars Million Trust Fund Now Available For Smokers

March 15, 2017

Frank Batsch was a smoker for more than 25 years. Although he quit nearly 40 years ago, he has been suffering for more than a decade from throat cancer that has nearly robbed him of his voice and his life. He is seeking justice from the tobacco industry and hopes to receive his fair portion of the new $600 million Engle Trust Fund, which will open for registration on April 25, 2008.

Starting next week, smokers, ex-smokers and survivors of people who have died from smoking-related diseases will be scrambling to grab a piece of the fund, according to Batsch's attorney, Todd McPharlin, a partner with the Fort Lauderdale law firm, Kelley / Uustal, who is representing tobacco victims.

The Miami-Dade County Circuit Court will be issuing a supplemental notice regarding the fund next week. The Engle Trust Fund is the result of the 1994 Engle Class Action against the tobacco industry. Registration forms are being posted at EngleTrustFund and mailed to members of the class on April 25, 2008. Registration forms must be filed no later than midnight on June 16, 2008.

According to McPharlin, who also serves as the liaison counsel for Broward County plaintiff attorneys handling tobacco cases, the funds will be distributed only to those claimants who register and file their claims before the deadline. Qualified class members should act quickly and seek experienced counsel to help them through the process.

"This is a very limited pool of funds for a very large population," he said. "Once the funds are gone, tobacco victims and their survivors who haven't registered and properly filed their claims will be out of luck."

To qualify for a share of the fund, individuals must have, according to the notice, "suffered or presently suffer, or have died from diseases and medical conditions (listed on the notice) caused by addiction to cigarettes that contained nicotine. The disease or medical condition must have been diagnosed or first manifested itself on or before November 21, 1996."

Because hundreds of law firms will be promoting their services in this area, choosing counsel may be a daunting task for some tobacco victims. McPharlin suggests that claimants, when choosing counsel, consider such factors as:

- How actively involved is the law firm in handling tobacco claims.
- The number and type of tobacco cases the firm handled in the past.
- References. Ask to talk to clients about their experiences.
- Bar standing. Research the firm through your local bar association.
- The firm's experience with mass tort litigation.

About Kelley / Uustal

Robert Kelley and John Uustal formed their team of seasoned trial attorneys with more than 50 years of combined courtroom experience and more than 100 jury trials. The firm focuses its practice on securing compensation for clients who have been left physically and/or financially devastated by a catastrophic injury or event. The attorneys have been instrumental in securing more than $250 million in jury awards and settlements for clients.

Robert Kelley and John Uustal