. .

Invest in your success.
JVRA helps lawyers win cases by providing critical information you can use to establish precedent, determine demand and win arguments.

ARTICLE ID 28884

$________ INCLUDING $________ PUNITIVE AWARD - PRODUCTS LIABILITY - LUNG CANCER SECONDARY TO CIGARETTE SMOKING EVENTUALLY METASTASIZES TO TERMINAL POINT - FOR OVER 50 YEARS CIGARETTE MANUFACTURER FAILS TO PERFORM ADEQUATE TESTING ON PRODUCT FOR POTENTIAL HEALTH EFFECTS - PUNITIVE DAMAGES CLAIMED BASED UPON EVIDENCE THAT THE DEFENDANT ENGAGED IN MISINFORMATION/DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN OVER 45-YEAR-PERIOD, SPECIFICALLY AIMED AT THE ADDICTED CIGARETTE SMOKER.

Los Angeles County, California

This action was brought by the terminally ill 63-year-old female plaintiff, who developed lung cancer. The plaintiff alleged that the lung cancer was directly attributable to her lifelong habit of cigarette smoking, that the cigarettes constituted a defective and unreasonably dangerous product lacking in adequate warnings, and that the defendant failed to perform adequate testing on the product prior to placing it on the market. The plaintiff sought to recover compensatory damages for the extreme pain and suffering she has endured as a direct result of smoking cigarettes, as well as special damages including past and future medical costs and diminished life expectancy. The plaintiff additionally alleged that an award of punitive damages was warranted in this case based upon evidence that the defendant engaged in an advertising campaign of misinformation and disinformation particularly aimed at the addicted smoker.

The female plaintiff started smoking cigarettes at age 17, in ________, and her habit continued for approximately 40 years. The evidence established that she smoked one to two packs of Marlboros per day, at some point switching to Benson & Hedges cigarettes. In February of ________ the plaintiff was diagnosed with lung cancer.

The medical evidence demonstrated that the plaintiff had suffered from chronic bronchitis for some 20 years prior to her cancer diagnosis. It was conceded that the plaintiff knew that smoking aggravated her bronchitis. The plaintiff was hospitalized with pneumonia three or four times, and it was also conceded that the plaintiff knew that smoking aggravated pneumonia. The plaintiff alleged that she attempted to stop smoking on three or more occasions, but was unsuccessful.

The plaintiff did not dispute that she was aware of the Surgeon General’s warnings printed directly on cigarette packages. She was also aware that public health organizations stated that smoking could cause lung cancer. The plaintiff admittedly knew that the defendant, along with other cigarette manufacturers, denied that real proof of this link existed, that they claimed statistical evidence was not reliable, that the cause of lung cancer was not known and that further research was required. The plaintiff contended that she believed the claims of cigarette manufacturers during that time period, regarding the purported lack of proof of a link between cigarette smoking and cancer.

The plaintiff admitted that her doctors had told her to reduce her smoking, or to stop smoking, for over a period of 10 years prior to her diagnosis of cancer. The plaintiff additionally conceded that her daughter hated smoking and had attempted to get p 7 3 her mother to stop for over a period of more than 20 years.

Notwithstanding her good faith efforts, the plaintiff was unable to stop smoking.

The plaintiff called a host of experts, from biopharmaceutical science experts, pulmonary medicine and cancer experts to marketing and psychology/risk perception specialists. The plaintiff’s primary allegations were that the defendant Philip Morris never tested its product for biologic activity for over fifty years while continuing to market the product. The plaintiff’s experts asserted that the evidence demonstrated that the defendant conducted a disinformation/misinformation campaign spanning over 45 years, aimed specifically at the addicted cigarette smoker. The plaintiff contended that the defendant fraudulently concealed the degree of danger of its product.

The plaintiff alleged that Philip Morris failed to warn or instruct (prior to the ________ preemption) that light cigarettes were as hazardous as full-strength cigarettes. Additionally, the plaintiff presented evidence obtained during discovery indicating that the defendant was able to manufacture an almost-safe cigarette, but did not want to endanger Marlboro’s dominant market position by properly promoting ultra-low-tar cigarettes. The defendant contended that there was no such thing as a safe cigarette and that the dangers of cigarette smoking were well publicized and common knowledge throughout the relevant time period. The defendant denied engaging in a campaign of disinformation/misinformation aimed specifically at the addicted smoker. Additionally the defendant maintained that the plaintiff smoked of her own volition and that if she had really wanted to stop smoking, she could have and would have, like many other former smokers.

The plaintiff ultimately developed lung cancer which metastasized to the liver. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy failed to eradicate the cancer. The plaintiff suffers from a terminal disease and an extremely limited life expectancy. The plaintiff claimed past medical specials of $________ and lost earning capacity of $________.

The jury found for the plaintiff and returned a total verdict of $________, including $________ in compensatory damages and $________ in punitive damages.

To read the full article, please login to your account or purchase

5 ways to win with JVRA

JVRA gives you jurisdiction-specific, year-round insight into the strategies, arguments and tactics that win. Successful attorneys come to the table prepared and use JVRA to:

  1. Determine if a case is winnable and recovery amounts.
  2. Determine reasonable demand for a case early on.
  3. Support a settlement demand by establishing precedent.
  4. Research trial strategies, tactics and arguments.
  5. Defeat or support post-trial motions through past case histories.

Try JVRA for a day or a month, or sign up for our deluxe Litigation Support Plan and put the intelligence of JVRA to work for all of your clients. See our subscription plans.