The Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute was formed as a result of a class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of non-smoking Flight Attendants by Florida attorneys Stanley and Susan Rosenblatt in October 1991 in Dade County Circuit Court (Miami) against the tobacco industry. The suit sought damages for diseases caused to Flight Attendants from their exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke in airline cabins.
It must be remembered that back then, smoking was not merely allowed on airplanes, it was encouraged. Free mini packs of cigarettes accompanied meals. The smoke pervaded the atmosphere, and Flight Attendants had to breathe this foul air in an enclosed space.
After four months of a grueling trial following the cross-examination of several tobacco industry witnesses, the companies decided to settle. The settlement established FAMRI with a payment of $300 million because Susan and Stanley Rosenblatt insisted that the funds be directed towards medical research. In addition, the tobacco companies would not agree to payments to individual flight attendants.
Although the lawsuit was filed in 1991, the trial did not commence until 1997. The delay was caused by the Tobacco industry’s litigation strategy and a series of appeals, all of which Susan Rosenblatt defended. Thankfully she prevailed against the industry’s efforts to have
In addition to the monies, the companies agreed to eliminate smoking on airplanes, and certain procedural advantages were provided to individual flight attendant cases that were allowed to go forward.
Upon approval of the Circuit Court, FAMRI was formed as a not-for-profit, private foundation and incorporated in the State of Florida in 2000. In 2002, the Internal Revenue Service determined FAMRI as a federal tax-exempt organization under Section 501(a) of the IRS Code described in section 501(c)(3).
Many remarkable individuals have influenced FAMRI’s history over the years. Click here to read about their contributions.
FAMRI dedicates its accomplishments to the Flight Attendants who worked for decades in tobacco smoke-filled airline cabins. Click here to read more.
View FAMRI’s Awards History here.