Tobacco Lawsuit Results in $13.8M Punitive Damages Against Philip Morris

A California jury has awarded nearly $14 million in punitive damages against Philip Morris USA to the daughter of a woman who died after a lifetime of smoking.

The tobacco lawsuit judgment came after the retrial of a case that previously resulted in a jury verdict of $28 billion. Although that record award was later reduced by the trial judge to $28 million, it was overturned on appeal and sent back for a new trial for the punitive damages portion of the claim.

The new trial resulted in an award of $13.8 million for Jodie Bullock, the daughter of Betty Bullock, who died in 2003 from complications caused by smoking. Betty Bullock started smoking in the 1950s, when she was 17 years old. She died approximately one year after the first court victory in 2002.

Did You Know? Millions of Philips CPAP Machines Recalled

Philips DreamStation, CPAP and BiPAP machines sold in recent years may pose a risk of cancer, lung damage and other injuries.

Learn More

Phillip Morris USA argued that no punitive damages were justified and claimed that Bullock should have known the risks of smoking. The first jury also awarded Bullock $750,000 in compensatory damages and $100,000 for pain and suffering, which were not at issue during the retrial.

The original $28 billion award was thrown out by the California 2nd District Court of Appeal, which determined that the trial judge failed to give proper jury instructions on punitive damages. The appellate court determined that the judge should have told the jury that they could return an award based upon harm inflicted to other people besides the plaintiff in the case.

The appellate court determined that the first jury, in issuing the $28 billion award, attempted to penalize Phillip Morris by awarding $1 million for each of the estimated 28,000 smokers in California who have died in the last 40 years.

Image Credit: |

0 Comments

Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

Provide additional contact information if you want an attorney to review your comments and contact you about a potential case. This information will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

More Top Stories

Neutrogena, Aveeno Sunscreen Recall Lawsuits Consolidated in Florida Federal Court For Pretrial Proceedings
Neutrogena, Aveeno Sunscreen Recall Lawsuits Consolidated in Florida Federal Court For Pretrial Proceedings (Posted today)

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has consolidated all Neutrogena and Aveeno sunscreen spray recall lawsuits filed over benzene contamination before one judge for pretrial proceedings.