Openings Begin in Rohr v. R.J. Reynolds

Posted by msch on Oct 6, 2010 3:46:00 PM

Rohr v Reynolds Attorneys

Plaintiff attorney Bruce Denson told the jury in Rohr v. R.J. Reynolds that Arthur Rohr smoked a pack a day for 50 years, adding, "No one smokes for 50 years who isn't to some degree addicted."

All the records agreed, said Mr. Denson, that Mr. Rohr died of metastatic lung cancer, which is caused by smoking. Although Mr. Rohr had a small skin cancer, the medical records indicated that the skin cancer apparently had not spread.

Mr. Denson told the jury to expect evidence that Mr. Rohr smoked for nicotine, not for taste. For example, Mr. Rohr didn't smoke any particular brand of cigarette -- among other, he smoked Chesterfield, Merit, Kent, Lucky Strike, Pall Mall, Winston, and Tareyton, ingesting what Mr. Denson referred to as "a massive dose of carcinogens."

Representing R.J. Reynolds, Jones Day's Stephanie Parker told the jury that the plaintiff would not be able to prove their case, because "critical pieces of evidence are just not there."

Mr. Rohr was not addicted, said Mr. Parker. He quit easily and quickly, cold turkey -- without assistance -- when he wanted to. 

Moreover, despite the medical records' suggestion that Mr. Rohr died of lung cancer, there was no evidence to support that conclusion: no pathology report, no radiology, and no autopsy. Instead, there was evidence that Mr. Rohr had a two-centimeter malignant melanoma that was present in 1993, which was before cancer was found in Mr. Rohr's body in 1994. Ms. Parker told the jury that skin cancers spread to the lungs more often than lung cancers spread to the skin. Moreover, Mr. Rohr's 50 years of smoking might not have resulted in lung cancer, she said, because 90% of smokers do not contract lung cancer.

Shook Hardy Bacon's Dan Molony, on behalf of Lorillard, told the jury that Mr. Rohr had a long and wonderful life before he eventually died just before his 86th birthday. He had been an golfer of extraordinary talent before his arm was amputated at age 31, who then Mr. Rohr re-learned how to do everything with one hand. According to Mr. Maloney, Mr. Rohr was a man of uncommon determination and capability.

Bowman & Brooke's Sandra Ezell spoke on behalf of Philip Morris. According to Ms. Ezell, Mr. Rohr was in complete control of his actions, and indeed Mr. Rohr's neighbor did not even know he smoked.

CVN is webcasting Rohr v. R.J. Reynolds live.

Topics: Toxic Torts, Products Liability, Engle Progeny, Rohr v. Reynolds, Tobacco Litigation