Thursday, February 02, 2006

George W. Bush: "America is addicted to oil..." Philip Morris: "...but not to nicotine."

$80 Million Judgment Against Philip Morris Is Upheld


The Oregon Supreme Court upheld on Thursday a $79.5 million punitive damages award to the family of an Oregon smoker who died of lung cancer, saying the amount isn't excessive given the "reprehensible" conduct of tobacco giant Philip Morris in marketing cigarettes.

"Philip Morris knew that smoking caused serious and sometimes fatal disease, but it nevertheless spread false or misleading information to suggest to the public that doubts remained about the issue," the court said. "It deliberately did so to keep smokers smoking, knowing that it was putting the smokers' health and lives at risk, and it continued to do so for nearly half a century."

The Oregon court upheld a 1999 Multnomah County jury award of $79.5 million in punitive damages to the family of Jesse D. Williams, a janitor who died in 1997 of lung cancer at the age of 67. The man's family also was awarded $500,000 in non-economic damages, to compensate for pain and suffering.

According to testimony in the trial, Williams started smoking in the 1950s when serving in the Army in Korea, and later he smoked three packs of Marlboros a day. Williams' family said he kept smoking because he did not believe a company would sell something that was truly harmful.

Full story here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am all for economic resititution when death occurs or serious harm has been done. Although I know this ridiculous amount will be reduced, it is still in excess of what this man would have earned to support his family & any medical bills they may have incurred during his treatment. Awards like this are why there will be a cap set. Unfortunately it will effect those truly in need of financial security when harm has been done.

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I guess this must mean that Bush doesn't have any tobacco interests.

1:00 PM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

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10:56 PM  

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