Printer Friendly

R.J. REYNOLDS TOBACCO STATEMENT ON JURY'S VERDICT

 BELLEVILLE, Ill., Jan. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorneys for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. said that today's unanimous verdict by an Illinois jury in favor of the company and the tobacco industry's trade association, The Tobacco Institute, in a suit filed by a smoker seeking damages for lung cancer, demonstrates that "juries applying good common sense simply don't believe that smokers should be able to recover damages in cases like this."
 "As we have seen repeatedly in other trials, the core issue in these cases is personal responsibility for one's own conduct and choices," said John L. Strauch, a partner in Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, and Reynolds Tobacco's lead counsel in its smoking and health litigation.
 "Most people believe that it is simply not right for someone who has smoked, in the face of 25 years of health warnings and the universal awareness of the risks associated with smoking, to recover damages in court for an injury claimed to be caused by their decision to smoke," he said.
 Charles H. Kueper, 51, sued Reynolds, an Illinois retail drug store, and the tobacco industry's trade association, The Tobacco Institute, alleging that he had lung cancer caused by smoking the company's Winston brand since 1959. The suit claimed that the defendants had been negligent in their sale and marketing of a dangerous product, and that the Tobacco Institute and the industry had engaged in a conspiracy to deceive the public about the health effects of smoking by withholding information and through the use of advertising and public relations activities.
 The trial began Nov. 16 in Belleville, Ill., a small town near St. Louis, Mo., which is widely regarded by product liability lawyers as a jurisdiction very favorable to plaintiffs in liability cases. The case was heard in the St. Clair County Circuit Court for the Twentieth Judicial Circuit here.
 Paul Crist, of Jones, Day, was Reynolds' lead trial counsel in the case.
 "Plaintiff's counsel was given extremely wide latitude in terms of the kind of evidence and arguments he was allowed to advance in this case," Crist said. "This verdict for the defense in this jurisdiction underscores how reluctant juries are to impose liability in smoking cases."
 More than 300 such cases against tobacco companies have been tried or otherwise dismissed without any plaintiff having ever collected anything by way of judgment or in settlements.
 "This jury's verdict is also significant in view of claims by anti-smoking activists that last year's United States Supreme Court ruling in the Cipollone case had somehow altered the litigation picture," said Strauch.
 "Cipollone in fact ruled that tobacco liability claims based upon the inadequacy of the federal health warning, or the theory that cigarette advertising undermined the warning, were foreclosed by the Federal Cigarette Labelling and Advertising Act for the period 1969 forward," he said. "While some room was left for cases based upon a claim of intentional fraud, that sort of claim was considered and rejected by the jury in the Kueper case. In addition, the Cipollone case itself was dismissed with prejudice by the plaintiff following the Supreme Court ruling and before retrial of the case."
 Strauch said that there was one remaining count in the Kueper case, a claim for liability under an Illinois consumer protection statute which the trial court, over Reynolds' objection, took away from the jury and reserved for decision by the Court alone. It will be decided by the presiding judge at a later date.
 "We argued strongly, and we believe correctly," said Strauch, "that the jury should have decided this claim as well. Indeed, plaintiff's evidence against Reynolds and The Tobacco Institute on this issue was presented to the jury, and the jury had before it a claim that the plaintiff was misled as part of the issues they were allowed to decide. The jury ruled against the plaintiff."
 The judge who will decide the remaining claim took over the Kueper case midway through the trial. The original judge withdrew from the case in response to a defense motion based upon his having been present during a barroom discussion of tobacco litigation and the Kueper case by a noted anti-tobacco activist law professor during the trial.
 -0- 01/30/93
 /CONTACT: David B. Fishel of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, 618-236-0416 or 0426/


CO: R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. ST: North Carolina IN: TOB SU

JP -- NYON1 -- 1048 01/30/93 01:03 EST
COPYRIGHT 1993 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 30, 1993
Words:733
Previous Article:FAMILY PHARMACISTS HELP OLDER AMERICANS REDUCE HEALTH CARE COSTS, STAY OUT OF HOSPITAL
Next Article:AMERICAN WATER WORKS BUYS AVATAR'S FOUR MIDWEST UTILITIES
Topics:


Related Articles
R.J. REYNOLDS TOBACCO COMPANY RESPONSE TO SUPREME COURT RULING
R.J. REYNOLDS TOBACCO CO. ISSUES STATEMENT ON THE ALLGOOD DECISION
ABC-TV AND R.J. REYNOLDS TOBACCO CO. SETTLE LAWSUIT
R.J. REYNOLDS TOBACCO CO. REACTION TO CASTANO RULING
FIFTH CIRCUIT REVERSES CASTANO CERTIFICATION, REMANDS CASE TO TRIAL COURT FOR DISMISSAL OF THE CLASS COMPLAINT
R.J. REYNOLDS SAYS TOBACCO DEFENDANTS RESPOND TO QUESTIONS ON COURT ORDERED MEDIATION IN FLORIDA
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Statement on Document Discussed By Woody Wilner Today
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Issues Statement
Brown & Williamson Issues Statement on Connor Trial
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Statement on Petition to the Third District Court in Florida To Reverse Broin Trial Order on Punitive Damages

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters