Plaintiff Closings in Piendle v. R.J. Reynolds

Posted by msch on Aug 2, 2010 9:50:00 AM

Greg Barnhart of Searcy DenneySearcy Denney's Greg Barnhart began closing arguments in the Piendle v. R.J. Reynolds Engle-progeny tobacco trial.

"Remember in opening statement when I pulled out a cigarette?  It was shocking, it was jarring," said Mr. Barnhart.  "But to understand Charlie Piendle's activities," Mr. Barnhart advised, the jury would have to go back to the time in which Mr. Piendle lived.

Mr. Piendle's decision to start smoking was made in the 1950's, when 80% of all U.S. males smoked, Mr. Barnhart recounted. Charlie graduated in the high school class of 1959 -- 65% to 68% were regular smokers.

Mr. Barnhart pointed out that one of Charlie Piendle's friends had come to testify for his friend. "When you have a man who inspires that kind of love, even 14 years after his death, that's a remarkable man and a tremendous loss."

"It's rare that you get a case where you get actual documents showing a conspiracy, a cover-up, a plan...Most cases you have to piece it together. Not here. You're going to see it in their own words."

Mr. Barnhart offered to play CVN video of expert witness testimony during closing argument, which has been permitted in many trials. The use of CVN video in closings is allowed in most courts, even the video is not itself evidence, because the closing arguments themselves are not evidence, and therefore the videos are offered as demonstrative evidence, no different from other attorney-created displays or computer animations, not as evidence in the case.

Charlie Piendle An Engle Tobacco Plaintiff

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CVN is webcasting the Margaret Piendle v. R.J. Reynolds tobacco trial live.

Topics: Toxic Torts, Products Liability, Tobacco Litigation, Piendle v. RJ Reynolds