A Suffolk Superior Court (Boston) jury awarded $71 million in compensatory damages and $81 million in punitive damages, in a wrongful death case decided in mid-December.
The son and the estate of Marie Evans sued Lorillard, Inc., manufacturer of Newport cigarettes, claiming that the company seduced Ms. Evans into a lifelong addiction to smoking by giving out free samples, a part of a broader marketing campaign that was aimed at youngsters in black neighborhoods. She died of lung cancer in 2002.
Similar to the facts from my last blog entry First Ever Wrongful Death Settlement for Smokeless Tobacco, where the decedent began using smokeless tobacco at age 13, Ms. Evans began smoking at the same age.
The jury found that Lorillard acted with negligence, in breach of trust and in a wanton and reckless manner.
Aside from the size of the jury award for both compensatory and punitive damages, this case was novel for its challenge to the marketing and advertising of cigarettes to youngsters.
William Evans, decedent's son, graduated from Harvard Law School