Philip Morris Lawsuit
Jury Decides Against Big Tobacco
Landmark Decision Reached in Tobacco SuitA jury in Florida has decided that the death of a long-time chain smoker was attributable to his being addicted to nicotine. The man, Stuart Hess, died of lung cancer. This is an important test case, and could be potentially very costly for tobacco giants such as Philip Morris, the defendant in this case.
According to press reports, this is the first of almost 8,000 similar suits going to court since the Florida Supreme Court threw out a $145 billion jury award in a class-action lawsuit in 2006, on behalf of thousands of smokers and their families.
At that time, Florida's high court upheld the decision that tobacco companies concealed the health dangers associated with smoking, and knowingly sold their tobacco products anyway. However, the court ruled that each case must be proven on an individual basis.
During closing arguments lawyers for Mr. Hess explained that he had tried to quit numerous times during the 40 years he smoked. Despite trying things like hypnosis he was unsuccessful, and continued smoking while he was undergoing chemotherapy. He died at the age of 55.
The next phase of the trial will established damages.
FEB-12-09: Jury finds against tobacco company in smoker death [AP: JURY FINDS AGAINST TOBACO COMPANY IN SMOKER'S DEATH]
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