Opening statement in Warrick v. RJ Reynolds by Shook Hardy Bacon's Ken Reilly, on behalf of Philip Morris, reminded the jury that not all smokers get addicted, and addicted smokers can quit. Moreover, quitting smoking can prevent or reduce the effects of smoking-related illness.
Mr. Reilly also said that if you go back in time to the 50's or 60's or 70's and look at all the millions of documents generated by Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds, you can find documents that have bad ideas, proposals, suggestions, and statements that we would not embrace today. However, it would be the plaintiff's burden of proof to show that any of those statements had an impact on Mrs. Warrick.
Mr. Reilly also advised the jury to consider carefully the evidence from Mrs. Warrick herself, and her family, who would know better than any generic expert witness why Mrs. Warrick smoked.
Representing RJ Reynolds, Womble Carlyle's Jonathan Engram suggested that Mrs. Warrick did not die from lung cancer, but instead from a grossly enlarged heart with an arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, which caused sudden cardiac arrest. Mrs. Warrick had a pacemaker implanted about seven months before she died.