Tuesday :: Mar 31, 2009

Supreme Court Upholds HUGE Punitive Damages Against Tobacco Company!

by Turkana

If you're a company that makes its living by killing people, you suppressed your own research that proves your product is addictive, while deliberately making it even more addictive, and were so sick and sinister as to target your ads at kids, so you could get them hooked before they were mature enough to make sensible decisions about their lives- well, you may have a problem. Finally.

According to the Associated Press:

The Supreme Court today threw out a cigarette maker's appeal of a $79.5 million award to a Portland smoker's widow, ending a 10-year legal fight to keep her from collecting.

In a one-sentence order, the court left in place a ruling by the Oregon Supreme Court in favor of Mayola Williams of Northeast Portland. The state court has repeatedly upheld a verdict against Altria Group Inc.'s Philip Morris USA in a fraud trial in 1999.

The judgment has grown to more than $155 million with interest, and Williams stands to collect between $60 million and $65 million, before taxes and payments to her lawyers, said Robert Peck, her Washington-based lawyer.

The official actual damages were only $80,000, so these huge punitive damages are the real key- particularly from a Court that is generally antipathetic to large amounts of punitive damages.

The plaintiff's attorney, Robert Peck, makes it clear:

Peck said the court has signaled a willingness to allow large awards in certain circumstances. "I think we can take from this long tale that if the behavior is sufficiently reprehensible, then larger awards are merited," Peck said.

Reprehensible. In the article's description of the appeals process, we find this:

Next, the Oregon Supreme Court upheld the punitive damages, citing "extraordinarily reprehensible" conduct by Philip Morris officials.

Extraordinarily reprehensible. Sounds good to me. And let more lawsuits follow! No mercy for mass murderers!

Turkana :: 9:59 AM :: Comments (6) :: Digg It!