Engle-progeny tobacco defendants R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris extended their recent winning streak with a defense verdict today in Warrick v. R.J. Reynolds.
Eveline Warrick was diagnosed with COPD in 1991, quit smoking in 2001, and died in 2010. Although she suffered from a smoking-related illness, there was evidence that her death resulted from an unrelated heart ailment.
The jury denied liability for either wrongful death (if smoking had caused her death) or survival damages based on COPD (if she died from a non-smoking related cause) by finding that although Ms. Warrick was addicted to cigarettes, the addiction was not the legal cause of her COPD. Further, the jury found that Ms. Warrick knew or should have known before May 5, 1990, that she had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and that there was a reasonable possibility that the COPD was caused by the defendants' actions.