Top New York State court rejects cigarette claim

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York State’s top court on Tuesday rejected a product liability claim against tobacco companies by smokers who said they should have used lower levels of tar and nicotine.

The New York State Court of Appeals, in a 6-1 decision, upheld a lower court ruling that found lawyers for smoker Norma Rose failed to prove that “light” cigarettes had the same impact as regular cigarettes.

“A strong argument can be made that, when the pleasure they give smokers is balanced against the harm they do, regular cigarettes are worse than useless,” according to the decision. “But it is still lawful for people to buy and smoke regular cigarettes, and for the cigarette companies to sell them.

“To hold, as plaintiffs ask, that every sale of regular cigarettes exposes the manufacturer to tort liability would amount to a judicial ban on the product.

“If regular cigarettes are to be banned, that should be done by legislative bodies, not courts,” the decision said.

A jury had awarded $3.42 million in compensatory damages to Rose and her husband Leonard. The amount was divided equally between Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp, now a unit of R.J. Reynolds Inc and Philip Morris USA. Punitive damages of $17.1 million were also assessed against Philip Morris, now part of Philip Morris International Inc..

Rose, who smoked more than a pack of cigarettes a day for more than 40 years, died during the appeal. A jury found that American Tobacco and Philip Morris negligently designed the cigarettes Rose smoked.

The Appellate Division reversed the judgment and granted judgment in favor of the companies. The lawyers for Rose’s estate appealed.

(Reporting by Grant McCool, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)


Related Posts:

By Amy Norton NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Menthol cigarettes may be harder to quit than the standard variety, particularly for lower-income smokers, a new study suggests. The findings add to evidence that mentholated cigarettes may be especially addictive, but highlight a role for socioeconomics as well, researchers say. They found that black and Hispanic smokers who favored

Full Post: Menthol cigarettes may be tougher for some to quit

LONDON (Reuters) - The display of cigarettes and tobacco in shops will be banned in England under proposals outlined by Health Secretary Alan Johnson on Tuesday. The move aims to cut the number of young people starting smoking and follows similar measures planned or already imposed in other countries including Scotland and Canada. The government estimates that

Full Post: England to ban tobacco displays in shops

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Smokers should be vaccinated against a pneumonia-causing germ, along with children and the elderly, U.S. federal advisers recommended on Wednesday. If accepted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it would be the first vaccine recommendation aimed specifically at smokers. The vaccines, called pneumococcal vaccines, prevent infection with several strains of Streptococcus pneumonia,

Full Post: Smokers should get pneumonia vaccine: U.S. advisers

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Fathers-to-be who smoke and want to protect the health of their families should take it outside, suggests new research from Korea. Newborns whose fathers had smoked in the home had higher levels of nicotine in their hair than babies born to non-smoking dads, Dr. Moon-Woo Seong of the National Center in

Full Post: Dad’s in-home smoking may harm family’s health

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Obese people have the right to two seats for the price of one on flights within Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on Thursday. The high court declined to hear an appeal by Canadian airlines of a decision by the Canadian Transportation Agency that people who are “functionally disabled by obesity” deserve

Full Post: Obese have right to 2 airline seats: Canada court

Site Navigation

Most Read