Tobacco Companies Prove The Difficulty Of Suing Big Corporations For Dangerous And Defective Products
After being able to use legal stall tactics to drag out a lawsuit for 11 years in the courts, big tobacco was able to win a big victory in the U.S. Supreme Court by insisting that a small technical point in a lawsuit brought on behalf of a widow whose husband died of cancer from smoking was not mentioned to the jury in the case.
The case was won in the U.S. Supreme Court by big tobacco by claiming that the jury was not informed that they could not award punitive damages on behalf of other smoking victims who were not part of the original lawsuit. However, one of the original jurors claimed that the huge $79.5 million dollar punitive damage award to the widow was not awarded on behalf of other smoking victims, but on behalf of the original lawsuit by the widow. Yet big tobacco carried the day with a strange coalition of conservative and liberal justices formed on both sides. By a narrow 5-4 margin, big tobacco was able to return the lawsuit back to Oregon courts, and a new attempt to kill this lawsuit will then be mounted by big tobacco lawyers. Such is the big problem of attempting to sue a big corporation like the tobacco industry that markets dangerous and defective products that kill 50% of all users when used as directed.