Tobacco company wants verdict overturned

Dec. 3, 2012 at 5:21 PM
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BOSTON, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- A tobacco company attorney told a Massachusetts court a landmark $152 million verdict in 2004 against the company was legally flawed and should be overturned.

Willie Evans, 42, a staff attorney for the Massachusetts Teachers Association, won a wrongful-death suit against the Lorillard Tobacco Co. on behalf of his mother, Marie Evans, who died of lung cancer at age 54 in 2004. Evans claimed Lorillard's giveaways of Newport cigarettes in her Boston-area housing project led to a nicotine addiction by the time she was 13.

In an oral argument Monday before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Lorillard attorney Paul F. Ware Jr. said no evidence was presented in the case that directly linked the free cigarettes to Marie Evans' smoking addiction, The Boston Globe reported.

"It remains the plaintiff's burden to show something unique about Newport," he said in requesting the court to vacate the ruling.

He added the judge in the 2004 trial, Superior Court Judge Elizabeth M. Fahey, erred when she ruled Willie Evans could collect 12 percent interest on the award until he received it.

Lorillard is asking the court, at minimum, to reduce the award to Willie Evans and his late mother's estate to $1 million, the Boston Herald said Monday.

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