A jury in the United States has found R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris accountable for a smoker’s fatal lung cancer. Douglas Duignan started smoking in the early mid-1960s as soon became addicted to nicotine. He was a full time smoker by aduldhood smoking 1 to 1.5 and a half packs per day for 25–30 years.
In 1992, at the age 41, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and underwent radiation treatment but died later that year at the age of 42. He was survived by a wife and two adult children. Duignan and Son, individually and on behalf of his estate brought a lawsuit against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and Philip Morris USA INC which manufactured the brands he smoked. To prove his addiction his family testified about how his need to smoke was so overpowering that he would smoke in bed when he first awoke, fall asleep with a lit cigarette in his hand and borrow money to buy cigarettes.
Evidence showed that he attended unsuccessfully to quit and that he had switched to filtered and “light” cigarettes, believing that they were safer.
The Plaintiffs offered evidence detailing how the tobacco Defendants engaged in a nationwide campaign in the USA to conceal and create controversy about the health effects of smoking.
The Defendants argued that he smoked as a matter of personal choice. They also disputed that his cancer was a primary lung cancer and argued that it was a secondary cancer that had metastized from elsewhere in his body.
The Jury found in favour of the Plaintiff’s and their reasoning was as follows:-
• They found that Duignan was addicted to the nicotine in the Defendant’s cigarettes and that his addiction in smoking had caused his lung cancer.
The Jury proceeded to award six million in punitive damages and six million in compensatory damages to the Plaintiffs.
If you or a family member has contracted lung cancer from smoking we can assist you in the investigation of a possible claim for damages against the manufacturer of the cigarette brands you smoked. Please contact Mr. Liam Moloney Solicitor today at 045 898000 or email Liam at Liammoloney@moloneysolicitors.ie in the strictest of confidence and we will advise you in relation to the next steps to start the process of investigating your claim for compensation.