Smoker's $20 million in punitive damages
Monday 27 March 2000
A dying ex-smoker was awarded $20 million in punitive damages on Monday in her lawsuit against the United States' two largest tobacco companies.
The Superior Court jury ordered Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds to each pay $10 million to Leslie Whiteley and her husband. The same jury awarded the couple $1.7 million in compensation last week after finding that the companies deceived the public about the dangers of smoking.
That verdict was the first for a smoker who took up the habit after 1969, when the U.S. surgeon general's warnings first appeared on cigarette packages.
The Whiteleys had asked the jury for $115 million in punitive damages - which they said would represent 1 percent of the companies' combined net worth. Their lawyer said cigarette makers remain unrepentant for the harm they cause.
The jury, which started deliberating punitive damages Friday, voted 9-3, the exact margin needed for a verdict.
Of the nation's five other jury verdicts in favor of individual smokers, two in Florida and one in New Jersey were overturned on appeal; an $80 million verdict in Portland, Oregon, was reduced to $31 million by the trial judge; and a dlrs $million verdict against Philip Morris in San Francisco a year ago was cut in half by Superior Court Judge John Munter, who is also presiding over Whiteley's case.
Whiteley, 40, of Ojai in southern California, said she started smoking in 1972, at age 13. She smoked Philip Morris' Marlboros and Reynolds' Camels until 1998, when she quit shortly before doctors diagnosed small-cell lung cancer. Doctors say she will likely die this year.
The tobacco companies said Whiteley harmed herself by her admitted use of marijuana, by smoking during pregnancy and by disregarding warnings on cigarette packages.
But after reviewing internal industry documents, jurors found that the companies designed cigarettes negligently, then made false or misleading statements to the public and concealed information about the dangers of smoking.
Dennis Rodman will coach the North Korea basketball team - and is preparing a special birthday treat for 'friend for life' Kim Jong-un
Jennifer Lawrence attacks mass media again over body image
Jennifer Lawrence: 'It should be illegal to call someone fat on TV'
Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
Ian Watkins: Police probed over earlier allegations as paedophile Lostprophets singer sentenced to 35 years for child sex offences
DNA from a 50,000 year old toe shows Neanderthals were highly inbred
Devyani Khobragade: India-US row escalates over arrest of diplomat in New York
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Ian Watkins: Police probed over earlier allegations as paedophile Lostprophets singer sentenced to 35 years for child sex offences
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- < Previous
- Next >
£500 - £550 per day: Cornwallis Elt : Business Analyst Target Operating Mod...
£10 - £12 per hour: Pro-Recruitment Group: An opportunity has arisen within th...
Flexible, Competitive, Weekly.: Randstad Education Cambridge: The JobRandstad ...
£9600 - £14400 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education are...