Phase 1 of the Rohr v. R.J. Reynolds Engle tobacco trial considered just a single question: "Was Arthur Rohr addicted to cigarettes containing nicotine, and, if so, was such addiction a legal cause of his death?"
Plaintiff attorney Bruce Denson told the jury that the medical records in the case showed that this was a bronchogenic lung cancer death, not a death from malignant melanoma. According to Mr. Denson, Mr. Rohr "smoked a pack a day every day. Twenty cigarettes every day. If he just did that for 50 years that would be 364,000 cigarettes. They want to tell you that addiction isn't part of this? That he did it every day, just out of choice, not addiction to nicotine -- that somehow Mr. Rohr was different than other people, he's not affected by nicotine?"
The jury determined that nicotine addiction was the legal cause of Mr. Rohr's death.
"Members of the jury: Welcome to Phase 2," said plaintiff attorney John "Hutch" Pinder in his opening statement. "In Phase 1, you learned about the addiction, disease, and death of Arthur Rohr. This Phase, Phase 2, is going to be about the defendants. You're going to learn their role in the addiction, disease, and death or Arthur Rohr."
Jones Day's Stephanie Parker, for R.J. Reynolds, told the jury, "This case is not a cause, it's not a crusade, it's not a chance to vote on how you feel about smoking. And that's because our society has already made those decisions...Our society knows that cigarettes cause lung cancer. But nevertheless, our society has decided that cigarettes should be available, should be a choice for adults to make."
Shook Hardy Bacon's Dan Molony, on behalf of Lorillard, told the jury "the brand that Dr. Rohr smoked that was made by my client was a brand called 'Kent.' And me smoked it, according to his son's testimony," for approximately five years near the end of his smoking history.
Representing Liggett, Kasowtiz Benson's Michael Rosenstein told the jury, "There's no doubt that Arthur Rohr was an intelligent and accomplished man who understood that cigarettes were an adult product that were dangerous and hard to quit," however, he continued, "Not much of this case has anything to do with my client, Liggett. The evidence is going to show that Arthur Rohr smoked a minor amount of Liggett cigarettes...The evidence will also show that nothing Liggett ever did or said had any effect on Arthur Rohr."
Bowman & Brooke's Sandra Ezell, representing Philip Morris, told the jury that Philip Morris products played a very small role in Arthur Rohr's smoking life. Moreover, she said, "In order to hold my client, Philip Morris, accountable, it is incumbent upon the plaintiff to draw a connection between Philip Morris and Dr. Rohr...it is not enough for them to point to a document, to point to an event, to point to something on TV, to point to anything that is done or participated in my Philip Morris...They have to point to those things, they have to point to Dr. Rohr, and they have to draw a line between those two...You have to be convinced not only that the line exists, but that it was sufficiently strong so that he acted on it, he relied on it."