Woburn, MA— Jurors awarded nearly $9.7 million Thursday to a Massachusetts smoker for the role it found Philip Morris played in her lung cancer. Greene v. Philip Morris, 1581CV01808.
The Middlesex County Superior Court jury deliberated for more than 8 hours across two days before finding Philip Morris’ involvement in a conspiracy to hide the dangers of smoking ultimately led to Patricia Greene’s 2013 lung cancer.
Thursday’s verdict includes $6.5 million for Greene’s pain and suffering.
Greene’s attorney, The Public Health Advocacy Institute’s Michael Weisman, requested more than $29.4 million total during Wednesday’s closings.
Although it found Philip Morris liable on conspiracy claims, the jury cleared the company on other counts, including a breach of merchantability warranty claim against it and supermarket chain Star Markets.
Greene, 61, began smoking in middle school and continued for years. Doctors diagnosed her with cancer six years ago. She claims the cancer and subsequent kidney failure from chemotherapy to treat the disease were caused by cigarettes Philip Morris knew were dangerous and addictive. And she contends the company joined with other cigarette makers to hide those dangers for decades.
The month-long trial turned in part on who bore responsibility for Greene’s years of smoking. During closings Wednesday, Beck Redden’s Kat Gallagher, representing Philip Morris, told jurors Greene knew the dangers of smoking and actually quit for several months in her early 20s before returning to cigarettes. “She made the decision to start smoking again, Gallagher said, “fully aware of the dangers of cigarette smoking at that time.”
But Weisman highlighted documents he said showed Philip Morris worked with other companies for decades to undercut public health information on the dangers of cigarettes. “They got together, they formed a conspiracy to deny the health charge,” Weisman said, “even though they knew that smoking was dangerous and nicotine was addictive.”
This is a breaking story and will be updated as information warrants.
Email Arlin Crisco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patricia and Fred Greene are represented by Michael Weisman, Andrew Rainer, and Meredith Lever, of the Public Health Advocacy Institute.
Philip Morris is represented by Ray Quinney & Nebeker's John Wunderli, Beck Redden's Kat Gallagher, and Mayer Brown's Scott Chesin.
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