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Florida Nicotine Addiction Suit Settled
On May 8, 1998, the Florida Department of Corrections (DOC) settled Waugh's suit after two days of trial. The settlement is significant for several reasons. Among them, the Florida DOC recognized nicotine addiction as a "serious medical condition" requiring treatment.
Under the terms of the settlement the DOC agreed to have Waugh examined by a pulmonologist and a neurologist and to prescribe Zyban tablets and nicotine patches as part of a smoking cessation therapy. Waugh would be assigned to a smoke free dormitory while undergoing treatment and would be allowed to continue his exercise regimen, vocational classes, law library access, etc. Waugh agreed not to sell or transfer any pharmaceutical product he was given to treat his nicotine addiction. Waugh was given a two month nicotine therapy treatment program, if he relapsed he could undergo it again.
The defendants agreed to pay Waugh's attorneys $65,000 in costs and expenses. The Jacksonville, Florida, law firm of Holland and Knight, which was appointed by the court to represent Waugh, agreed to waive its attorney fees of more than $250,000 in order to settle the suit. As a result of the suit the Florida DOC now provides, at DOC expense, a smoking cessation program for its prisoners that includes nicotine cessation aids such as Zyban and nicotine patches.
Despite the settlement in this case the Florida DOC continues to buy over $5 million worth of tobacco products each year which it sells to the prisoners in its custody at a profit of $2.6 million. According to a 1997 legislative report, 75% of Florida prisoners use tobacco products and at least $4 million a year is spent on health care costs treating tobacco related illnesses among Florida prisoners. Past legislative efforts to ban tobacco products in Florida prisons have failed.
Readers should note the settlement is unpublished. See: Waugh v. Singletary, US DC, MD FL (Jacksonville), Case No. 95-605-CIV-J-20A. For a detailed account of this litigation see the July-August, 1998, issue of Florida Prison Legal Perspectives . Address on the last page of each PLN
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Related legal case
Waugh v. Singletary
|Cite||USDC MD FL (Jacksonville), 95-605-CIV-J-20A|