Putney Tobacco Trial Damages Phase Goes To Jury

Posted by msch on Apr 23, 2010 11:28:00 AM

This morning, the Putney jury began its second day of deliberations.

Plaintiff attorney Charles Baumberger in Putney v. Phillilp Morris

In closing Phase 2 of the Putney tobacco litigation, Plaintiff attorney Charles Baumberger showed internal Phillip Morris documents evaluating the market potential of a "health cigarette," suggesting that "the illusion of filtration is important as the fact of filtration."

"There is no question that the conduct of the defendants was intentional...and the choices the defendants made to conceal, to avoid sharing the information they had, the intent to deceive the public with respect to their product was intentional, and it was gross, flagrant...This controversy was created by the tobacco industry, as a psychological buy into if you're an addict."

Mr. Baumberger then read to the jury a letter that Margot wrote to her children on her birthday, six weeks before her death. 

 Charles Baumberger's closing argument in the damages phase of Putney v. Phillip Morris tobacco trial

Defense attorney Dan Webb suggested that when people engage in risky behavior, they must accept the consequences of that behavior. 

Webb also challenged Sharon Putney's credibility, based on her testimony about whether Margot Putney was a heavy alcohol consumer, or whether Sharon had ever suggested to Margot that cigarette smoking was dangerous.

According to Webb, punitive damages were not warranted. Phillip Morris had implemented all the design changes and warnings required by the government, and offered safer cigarettes with lower tar and less nicotine. The product is legal, said Webb, and the only advertisement now is at point of sale, and by email to existing customers. 

Dan Webb's closing argument in the damages phase of Putney v. RJ Reynolds 

CVN is webcasting the Putney Tobacco trial live. 


Topics: Toxic Torts, Products Liability, Tobacco Litigation, Putney v. R.J. Reynolds