Closing arguments in Rohr v. R.J. Reynolds phase 2 were completed today in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Jones Day's Stephanie Parker told the jury that Arthur Rohr lived his life in a risky way, and that he accepted responsibility for making risky choices throughout his life, for example by using guns and signing a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order.
"He was a hundred percent in control of his decisions," said Ms. Parker, "and we ask you to find him 100% responsible for the decisions he made."
Dan Molony, on behalf of Lorillard, told the jury that there was nothing that connected the dots between the Arthur Rohr's decision to smoke and the Lorillard tobacco company's actions. Further, the evidence showed that Mr. Rohr smoked Lorillard brands, Old Gold and Kent, relatively infrequently. Finally, Mr. Rohr blamed the cigarettes, not the cigarette companies, for his smoking-related injuries.
Liggett's Michael Rosenstein, of Kasowitz Benson, told the jury that Arthur Rohr's son told them that Mr. Rohr had smoked Chesterfield cigarettes at some point in the 1950's, but the amount would require speculation, which is not permitted. And in any case, Mr. Rohr would still have gotten lung cancer from the other 14 brands he smoked. Mr. Rosenstein also highlighted in closing, as he did in opening, the ways in which Liggett is different from the other cigarette manufacturers -- for example, in not signing the Frank Statement.
Bowman & Brooke's Sandra Ezell told the jury that even if they determined that any tobacco company was liable, which she thought they should not, then Philip Morris's liability would be minimal, since his smoking of Philip Morris's brands was unusual , Mr. Rohr smoked the Merit brand only after he was age 60 -- and by then, warnings were included on the package.
In rebuttal, plaintiff attorney Bruce Denson told the jury that "the companies did do something wrong. It's the design of the product and the lies they told about it....Ms. Parker said nothing they did to the cigarette made it more addictive, but that's not true. They made it inhalable...a cigarette is designed to addict...the cigarette companies love to compare their product to food items, like orange juice or coffee. You can even see it in some of their advertising [Mr. Denson showed the attorney a variety of advertisements]...trying to convince consumers that this is just a part of ordinary life, like any other food. But we know it's not....They had the technology [to further reduce the nicotine] but then they stopped...I don't care if you call it 'quality control,' it's 'addiction control..."
Mr. Denson told the jury that allocating 100% to Mr. Rohr was inappropriate, because his ability to control his behavior was impaired, even if it wasn't eliminated. Mr. Denson compared the arguments of the defense counsel during the trial to the statements that the cigarette companies had made throughout the years, concluding that the tobacco companies had been "on message from the 1950's right into this courtroom."