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Health

Cancer Victim's Widow Awarded $8 Mil. in Philip Morris Lawsuit

In a ruling that could impact thousands of similar cases, a Florida jury has ordered Philip Morris, the largest tobacco company in the US, to pay the family of a lung cancer victim $8 million in damages.

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Elaine Hess presented evidence to the jury showing that her husband Stuart had smoked three packs of cigarettes every day before dying of lung cancer at only 55. Philip Morris’ attorney argued that Hess had the free will to quit at any time, but the jury didn’t buy it.

Elaine was awarded $2 million for her loss, and their son David was awarded $1 million. The remaining $5 million were awarded as a “punishment” to Philip Morris for deceiving the public — and Stuart Hess — about the addictive nature of nicotine.

The Hess family originally asked for up to $35 million in damages, but the jury ruled that Stuart Hess was in fact partly responsible for his death. They decided that the company was only 42% responsible and adjusted the amount accordingly.

There are nearly 8,000 pending similar cases in Florida alone. The state supreme court threw out a $145 billion class-action suit in 2006, leaving families to fight individual battles against tobacco companies.

Via: Florida Sun-Sentinal
Photo Credit: włodi on Flickr under Creative Commons license.



11 comments
  1. Larry Greene

    i just lost my dad he had been smoking camel and marlboro for 50 yrs and has died and now my mom has had triple by pass and has COPD and has smoked for over 50 yrs and barely gets around..They both told me they started before the warning label and got addicted..Now i think i have a legal suit—PLEASE HELP !!

  2. Aurther

    I think tobacco companies must pay for the deception in the 50s and 60s.I wonder why the state supreme court threw out the $145b class-action in 2006.

    Going forward anyone who smokes cant cry fowl. It’s all out now in black and white. let this industry perish.

  3. Cassaundra

    I lost my hubby to lung cancer caused by camels.
    When he started to smoke there was limited knowledge
    for the public about what smoking could do to the body. We now have a lot more information and if we still choose to smoke, we know what the results could be. Those starting to smoke in the 50’s and 60’s deserve some of the profits the Philip Morris realized.

  4. Myra Meyer

    Hello, Could someone PLEASE tell me who to contact for a law suit against phillip Morris. I lost my husband to lung Cancer May 30, 2009.

    Thanks,
    Myra

  5. CF

    Maybe you (Brett) haven’t watched someone you love die of lung cancer caused by smoking… while all the money in the world will not bring that person back; making a company that is making trillions of $dollars$ off of killing people does bring some satisfaction to a morbid situation…in place of physically holding a gun to your head and saying smoke, they knowingly add a drug called nicotine that causes you to become addicted, which in turn tells you to smoke…While you may see a difference in that, myself and many others do not…Now as far as getting real, let me get really real with you…I am currently watching my 55 year old father, grandfather to my 12,10,6 year old children, die. We get to watch him slowly get eatin’ alive by lung cancer; 6’2, 98 lbs. (at the present), tumors visibly surfacing over his entire body…A slow, long death, full of suffering, severe pain, depression, oh and let’s not forget it’s just entered his brain and soon he will not know who we are…Try that for marketing and let’s see how many people’s lives would have been spared…

  6. Brett

    ok people.. lets get real its a quick buck.. smoking kills you know that i know that. hell i make them.. but so does fast food, liquor, beer whatever.,.. now you can get cancer from the sun.. when people gonna take responsiblity for there own actions. stop trying to make a quick dollar and work for your money .. sueing phillip morris does nothing .. they are yet to pay a lawsuit since the early 90’s thats what a appeals court is for.. and when hte goverment regulates them you can no longer sue them … bc they will be fda … so really people smoking is bad but its free will they didnt hold gun to your head and say smoke ,

  7. armando

    Yeah well when your fed viscious lies surrounding a marketing ploy about a product such as tobacco that glamourizes smoking as much as phillip morris has done with its products and don’t give the accurate health information to the public and they use the product and end up dying YES I do believe its thier fault and anyone who thinks otherwise is just as evil as them

  8. neize

    My husband died with lung cancer recently. He was 55 years and quit smoking for three years.But it was late.And now? Why it is still allowed to produce poison to kill people? And don!t want any money.I woul like only to have my husband back.
    Please stop smoking.For yourself .

  9. L

    On one hand it’s great that tobacco companies are being held accountable for marketing toxins to the public. Yet, the person who makes the conscious choice of lighting a cigarette in the first place should not be exempt from those same responsibilities. It’s difficult not to come off as somewhat escapist from winning a lawsuit such as this.

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