Ex-smoker awarded $28 billion?!?!?!? - U2 Feedback

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Old 10-05-2002, 09:48 PM   #1
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Ex-smoker awarded $28 billion?!?!?!?

WTF?!?!?!?!?!?!???!??!?!?!??!

Ok, I realize that this will be in appeals forever, but COME ON! Here's a clip:
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Ex-smoker awarded $28 billion, Philip Morris says it will appeal Calif. jury’s decision

ASSOCIATED PRESS

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 4 — A jury awarded a record-shattering $28 billion in punitive damages Friday to a 64-year-old former smoker who sued Philip Morris Inc. for fraud and negligence.

THE SUPERIOR COURT JURY awarded the amount to Betty Bullock, who started smoking when she was 17 and was diagnosed last year with lung cancer that has since spread to her liver. Last month, the jury ordered the tobacco company to pay Bullock $750,000 in damages and $100,000 for pain and suffering. Philip Morris said it would appeal.

“This jury should have focused on what the plaintiff knew about the health risks of smoking, and whether anything the company ever said or did improperly influenced her decision to smoke or not to quit,” said William Ohlemeyer, the company’s associate general counsel.

“Testimony during the trial showed that Ms. Bullock was aware of the health risks of smoking and was warned repeatedly of those risks by her doctors over four decades, and her daughter also urged her to quit. Her response: ’I am an adult, this is my business.”’

Before Friday, the biggest verdict won by an individual against a tobacco company was $3 billion, awarded in June 2001. Philip Morris was ordered to pay the amount to Richard Boeken, a former heroin addict with cancer who died in January. The verdict was later reduced by a judge to $100 million.

During Bullock’s trial, Philip Morris did not try to defend its past actions. Instead, the company turned the spotlight on Bullock and her decision to smoke. The strategy was a major shift from previous defense efforts.

Bullock’s lawyer, Michael Piuze, argued that Philip Morris concealed the dangers of cigarettes with a widespread disinformation campaign that began in the 1950s. He told jurors it was “the largest fraud scheme ever perpetrated by corporations anywhere.” Piuze used photographs of Bullock, cigarette ads from her teenage years and internal tobacco industry documents to lay out his contention that Philip Morris concealed the dangers of cigarettes. The company denied any campaign to fool smokers.

Two years ago, a jury awarded thousands of Florida smokers $145 billion in punitive damages against Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, Brown & Williamson, Lorillard and Liggett. The award has been appealed.

“At this point, it’s really open season on the industry,” said Richard Daynard, a law professor at Northeastern University in Boston and chairman of the Tobacco Products Liability Project. “Juries all around the country are sending a message
that this conduct was not only totally inexcusable but that it was so outrageous there is no amount of money that would be enough to punish the people who perpetrated it,”

The California case also drew interest because it follows an Aug. 5 state Supreme Court ruling that grants cigarette makers a new window of immunity. The decision said most statements and acts by tobacco companies between 1988 and 1998 cannot be used as evidence against them because of a law, now repealed, shielding them from liability.

Some analysts think the ruling will give cigarette makers ammunition to overturn three recent plaintiff awards in California — including the Boeken verdict, which was also won by Piuze.

_______________________________________

I am not a smoker, and I do think the tobacco companies are evil, but this is ridiculous!
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Old 10-05-2002, 10:00 PM   #2
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i'd rather lick a cow than smoke

they want to bankrupt the tobacco industries, that's why. not necessarily for monetary gain, which is indeed in there.

but...phillip-morris will never go under so...blah.
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Old 10-06-2002, 12:41 AM   #3
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The big business of tobacco meets the big business of plaintiff civil litigation. The litigation is a game played by trial lawyers trying to grab a piece of the money flow generated by a successful business.
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Old 10-06-2002, 12:49 AM   #4
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my friend and i were just having a discussion about this.

responsibility doesn't seem to mean much anymore does it..
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Old 10-06-2002, 01:00 AM   #5
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this is pathetic. as it's been said, the tobacco companies will never go under. my dad buys a freaking carton of cigarettes every damn week. that's at least $20 a week from just one guy. millions of people in america alone smoke, and some smoke 3+ packs a day! they probably profit millions a day.

as it's also been said, i too think tobacco companies are evil, but this is just beyond stupid. i wasn't around back then, but i've seen 50's cigarette commercials. sure, they made it out that smoking was cool. but i don't think even they knew about all the dangers of cigarettes back then.

warnings have been on labels now for as long as i can remember. at the very least, one could argue that she did know about the dangers from all the warning labels she came across. and for it to be proven (and apparently not contested by her) that family and doctors asked her to quit, she has to be an idiot to think she'll win any money. i swear to god if she wins a penny, i'll go there myself and strangle the judge and jury for thinking she doesn't need to take responsibility for her own actions.
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Old 10-06-2002, 02:14 PM   #6
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Re: Ex-smoker awarded $28 billion?!?!?!?

Quote:
Originally posted by bonosloveslave

“Testimony during the trial showed that Ms. Bullock was aware of the health risks of smoking and was warned repeatedly of those risks by her doctors over four decades, and her daughter also urged her to quit. Her response: ’I am an adult, this is my business.”’

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Old 10-06-2002, 04:29 PM   #7
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chances of ex-smoker actually seeing 28B dollars, zero.

The cigarette companies drag these things through appeal after appeal. I dont think they've paid out on a number of big profile cases afaik
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Old 10-06-2002, 05:39 PM   #8
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while i know little about litigation(i just lost my own court case and with it a CDN$1000), i would say smoking is slowly but surely falling out of fashion. in canada many cities are aggressively pursuing non smoking bylaws in all public areas including bars and restaurants and it is making a difference in opinions. at the same time the federal government, at least on the surface, appears to be playing hard ball with the tobacco companies(they haven't been allowed to advertise in sports events for years).

philip morris and like minded tobacco companies will continue in spite of this drastically reduced interest in smoking-they will prosper because they have diversified thier interests.
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Old 10-06-2002, 07:52 PM   #9
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oh yeah, i'd say it's not really a cool thing anymore. although, we have the same situation here, where there's only a handful of places that allow smoking, and there are some that have smoking/non-smoking sections. but you have the older people who've been smoking since they were like 14 or something so it's been 30+ years now, and they won't quit for anyone, so by some fucked up logic it still seems rebellious for them.

i'm not referring to every smoker, btw, since i know several people on the forums smoke. i'm referring to those who act like it's a crime that those of us who don't smoke don't want to be around it. it seems it's mostly the older people who are like this, i guess because they're so used to it.
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Old 10-07-2002, 06:43 AM   #10
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This is about as ludicrous as the man who wants to sue McDonalds for his obesity, heart attacks and diabetes.

Stupid irony. I bet this woman would argue with those who want smoking banned in public places (pubs clubs etc) that "Smoking is a choice!"

Too damn right it is.
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Old 10-11-2002, 05:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Angela Harlem
This is about as ludicrous as the man who wants to sue McDonalds for his obesity, heart attacks and diabetes.

Stupid irony. I bet this woman would argue with those who want smoking banned in public places (pubs clubs etc) that "Smoking is a choice!"

Too damn right it is.
Exactly.

My god, what a lawsuit-happy country we are now, eh?

Let's start taking responsiblity for our own stupid actions, okay, people?

Angela
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Old 10-11-2002, 05:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Moonlit_Angel


Exactly.

My god, what a lawsuit-happy country we are now, eh?

Let's start taking responsiblity for our own stupid actions, okay, people?

Angela
This has been going on for years. It is the new American mantra - I'm a victim and I'm going to sue!
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Old 10-11-2002, 05:17 PM   #13
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The main problem with trying to bankrupt ciggie companies, is that they don't just own cigs, they own many other companies and the general public may not even know about it.
We are supporting their company whether we know it or not.

I was going to list the things that Philip Morris owns, but it's too long, go here and check it out.
scroll towards the bottom and it lists companies.
Things like Cool Whip, Kraft, Capri Sun, Jell-O, Kool-Aid these are all brand names we associate with what....

CHILDREN!!
Even if we stop corps like Philip Morris from catering their ciggies towards underage kids, they STILL are getting money from them by pushing those Easy-Mac's, juice in a package, and yummy Jell-O snacks.
If we really want to bankrupt these companies, hit them where it hurts, their wallet...the way to do that is NOT to sue them, it's too NOT BUY THEIR PRODUCTS.
Which is hard to do, there are so many, and much are every day items to a lot of households.
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Old 10-11-2002, 05:29 PM   #14
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We could just convince our family and friends to stop smoking.
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Old 10-11-2002, 05:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sparkysgrrrl
If we really want to bankrupt these companies, hit them where it hurts, their wallet...the way to do that is NOT to sue them, it's too NOT BUY THEIR PRODUCTS.
Which is hard to do, there are so many, and much are every day items to a lot of households.
I agree, that's about the only way I could see their empire fall, but gosh, do really think the world will give up Kraft Mac and Cheese? I love Cool Whip too (with chocolate Jello pudding). Man, why do they have to sell all that other good stuff besides cigarettes???
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