I don't usually post about widows in the news but this article caught my eye. It's about how a widow of a man with lung cancer sued R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.and won a $13.5 million dollar lawsuit. Her case was based on the fact that the company advertised that a filtered cigarette was safer than filterless Camels. He began smoking in 1932, long before Big Tobacco was forced to come clean about the real dangers of smoking.
However, it seems the jury didn't entirely put the tobacco companies at fault. They decided her husband was 30 percent at fault with the tobacco companies 70 percent at fault.
This is not the first widow to sue R.J Reynolds. When I searched Google I found another lawsuit from back in July. Time Magazine reported that this was "one of many lawsuits referred to as an 'Engle progeny,' stemming from a 2000 $145 billion verdict in a class action suit led Dr. Howard A. Engle." Unlike the man in the first link, the widow's husband didn't even live long enough to smoke forty years. He died an untimely death at only 36.
To be honest, while I support the verdict in the case of the elderly man, I'm not so sure I entirely agree with the judgment in the case of the 36 year old.
The younger man had to have known about the dangers of smoking. If he started smoking at 13 yrs old, it would have been 1983. I decided to do some research and cigarettes were required to carry a warning label in 1965 with it being put in the name of the surgeon general in 1970. He was clearly aware of the dangers of smoking when he started. Does this still make R.J. Reynolds at fault? I suppose if you take into consideration the companies entire history of covering up the realities of smoking it does. I think this man's fault was far more than 30 percent though.
Many people call the Fast Food Industry the new Big Tobacco. Will widows be suing McDonalds's in the not so distant future? What do you think? Leave your responses in the comments.