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Supreme Court Overturns $79.5 M Verdict Aganst Phillip Morris

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posted on Feb, 20 2007 @ 09:25 AM
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Supreme Court Overturns $79.5 M Verdict Aganst Phillip Morris


Source Link: news.yahoo.com

The Supreme Court threw out a $79.5 million punitive damages award to a smoker's widow Tuesday, a boon to businesses seeking stricter limits on big-dollar jury verdicts. The 5-4 ruling was a victory for Altria Group Inc.'s Philip Morris USA, which contested an Oregon Supreme Court decision upholding the verdict.
(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Feb, 20 2007 @ 09:26 AM
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What a win for Big Buisness!
What a loss for the American citizen.
I will post more links as more information is released



posted on Feb, 20 2007 @ 09:49 AM
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MSNBC.com
Here is more to the story, The Supreme Court made this decision due to the fact that the origional jury had not been instructed that they could only assess damages for the harm done against the plantiff and not to smokers who's cases were not heard.

In the majority opinion written by Justice Stephen Breyer, the court said the verdict could not stand because the jury in the case was not instructed that it could punish Philip Morris only for the harm done to the plaintiff, not to other smokers whose cases were not before it. States must “provide assurances that juries are not asking the wrong question ... seeking, not simply to determine reprehensibility, but also to punish for harm caused strangers,” Breyer said. The decision did not address whether the size of the award was constitutionally excessive, as Philip Morris had asked.


Now to continue the Supreme Courts roll on this issue:

Court won't hear challenge to state cigarette fee


The Supreme Court declined on Tuesday to hear a constitutional challenge by tobacco companies to Minnesota's 75-cent-per-pack health impact fee on cigarettes. The justices refused to review a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that upheld the constitutionality of the fee enacted in 2005 to recover state health costs caused by tobacco use. The state high court reversed a judge's ruling that the fee violated a 1998 settlement agreement between the state and tobacco companies meant to reimburse Minnesota for the cost of caring for sick smokers.


Yet, a majority (over 90%) of the monies that have been awarded to states from their settelments from the tobacco industry has never, nor will ever be used for the purpose that it was intended. Instead the monies have been used to offset construction costs, bugetary deficits etc.
Ask your govenor how many dollars have actually spent to offset the cost of smoker's illness, or better yet, ask them how much money has been used to assist smokers in quitting the habit.
Don't be surprised when they tell you nothing! The goverments are making big bucks off of the tobacco user though the extra taxes that they have to pay. There is one unfortunate drawback to this though which the state of N.Y. is finding out. The taxes are actually causing people to quit, now the states are finding themselves in a cash shortfall since they have already planned the spendatures that the cigarette tax was supposed to garner them.
What irony



posted on Feb, 20 2007 @ 10:01 AM
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Originally posted by kenshiro2012
What a win for Big Buisness!
What a loss for the American citizen.
I will post more links as more information is released


How is it a loss for the American citizen? Don't people know the inherent danger of inhaling smoke into their lungs? IMHO, I think it is a joke that people are awarded $80 million because they chose to subject their bodies to this type of harm.



posted on Feb, 20 2007 @ 11:21 AM
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Look at it this way,
It has been proven that the tobacco industry has gone to great lengths to hide / disprove the addictiveness as well as the health hazards of using their product.
This proof has lead to multi-billion judgements against them by various states.
Yet, when a person who has been addicted to tobbacco for a decade or more (before the big "truth" was made known to the world) the Supreme Court rules against the citizen.
That is where the disparity lies. People and families have suffered for decades and have lost loved ones, lost jobs etc from the use of tobacco and yet, these same people are denied compensation from the tobacco industry. The goverments though get billions in comensation and yet spend absolutely no monies to " offset the health costs of the tobacco user" Instead these monies are used for everything but.
That to me is a problem. A big problem.
I like you am against multi-million dollar lawsuits for idiotic things like spilling a hot cup of coffee on yourself and then suing McDonalds because they did not tell her it was hot.
In the case of the tobacco industry, they have spent millions of dollars in covering the detrimental effects of tobacco use. They have spent millions in advertising to the youth (remember the "flavored" cigarettes a few years ago. Advertising to promote the "coolness" of smoking. Those of the younger generation may not remember but the tobacco industry went out of it's way to make the worldwide public beleive that they need to smoke in order to be cool, sexy and even hip (those are actually the terms that the tobacco industry has used in it's campaigns). The tobacco industry, needs to be held accountable for it's misdeeds.



posted on Feb, 20 2007 @ 12:42 PM
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Originally posted by kenshiro2012
Look at it this way,
It has been proven that the tobacco industry has gone to great lengths to hide / disprove the addictiveness as well as the health hazards of using their product.
This proof has lead to multi-billion judgements against them by various states.
Yet, when a person who has been addicted to tobbacco for a decade or more (before the big "truth" was made known to the world) the Supreme Court rules against the citizen.
That is where the disparity lies. People and families have suffered for decades and have lost loved ones, lost jobs etc from the use of tobacco and yet, these same people are denied compensation from the tobacco industry. The goverments though get billions in comensation and yet spend absolutely no monies to " offset the health costs of the tobacco user" Instead these monies are used for everything but.
That to me is a problem. A big problem.
I like you am against multi-million dollar lawsuits for idiotic things like spilling a hot cup of coffee on yourself and then suing McDonalds because they did not tell her it was hot.
In the case of the tobacco industry, they have spent millions of dollars in covering the detrimental effects of tobacco use. They have spent millions in advertising to the youth (remember the "flavored" cigarettes a few years ago. Advertising to promote the "coolness" of smoking. Those of the younger generation may not remember but the tobacco industry went out of it's way to make the worldwide public beleive that they need to smoke in order to be cool, sexy and even hip (those are actually the terms that the tobacco industry has used in it's campaigns). The tobacco industry, needs to be held accountable for it's misdeeds.


I understand where you are coming from, but my point is the inherent danger of inhaling smoke. Think about it, how can inhaling smoke NOT be bad for your health? Why on earth do we need a warning label for this?

WARNING: Lighting a substance on fire and inhaling that substance's smoke may be bad for your health[/sarcasm]

I know that the tobacco companies hid the facts about nicotine addiction, maybe went so far as to add nicotine to cigs, but when you can't fly on a plane because you can't go more than an hour without a cig, don't you think that the person knows they are addicted?



posted on Feb, 20 2007 @ 01:03 PM
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I am with you somewhat but here are somethings to consider

In 1964, the United States Surgeon General's Report on Smoking declared cigarettes a major source of health hazards, prompting a decline in U.S. cigarette consumption. By 1994 only about one in four Americans over the age of sixteen was a smoker, and per capita consumption had declined as well—to about 2,500 cigarettes per adult per year. Warning labels had been put on tobacco packaging in the 1960s, though tobacco companies had managed to soften the blow somewhat by camouflaging the labels. New forms of advertising were also sought to compensate for the 1970 ban on television advertising. Tobacco companies became major sponsors of many sporting events (such as race-car driving and tennis) and began to pay actors to smoke in Hollywood movies. Brown and Williamson, for example, in 1983 agreed to pay Sylvester Stallone $500,000 to use that company's tobacco products in each of his next five films.
Note when the "warning Labels" were put into effect. Also note that the tobacco companies did their best to hide these warnings.
Now note

Tobacco companies won all of the lawsuits filed against them in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, arguing either that smoking had not been proven hazardous or that smokers themselves were to blame for their illnesses. Tobacco companies spent hundreds of millions of dollars challenging the medical link between smoking and disease. Front organizations such as the Council for Tobacco Research and the Tobacco Institute were established in the 1950s to "balance" the anti-smoking message with "no evidence of harm" propaganda.


Now to another fact


Research on smoking shows that 80% of all smokers desire to quit. But smoking is so addictive that fewer than 20% of the people who try ever successfully kick the habit. Still, many people attempt to quit smoking over and over again, despite the difficulties—the cravings and withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability and restlessness.

Notice, people who are addicted want to quit but so far to date the success rate is less than 20% and that is wif medical and group assistance. You may want to also add to this the fact that most insurance agencies will not pay for medications that are used to assist the tobacco addict in quitting.

So, are you saying that the tobacco industry should not have to pay individuals compensation for what their product has done to them? The tobacco industry has paid billions (which is now being passed down to the addicts by the way) to the goverment. The same goverment that is making the smoker a third rate citizen even to the point of outlawing smoking in their private homes. The same goverment who is adding additional taxes to the addict. The same goverment who has spent nothing of the billions that the tobacco industry has been ordered to pay, to help those who are addicted to quit or to help offset the health costs of the addict.

Yes tobacco use is nasty. Yes tobacco use hurts many people. But, if the goverment just wishes to take advantage of the tobacco addict, and the courts deny that the tobacco industry needs to compensate the addicts / their families / or those who are harmed by second hand smoke.
The only winner in this scenario, the tobacco industry and of course Uncle Sam. That is not good



posted on Feb, 20 2007 @ 08:10 PM
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Originally posted by kenshiro2012
What a win for Big Buisness!
What a loss for the American citizen.
I will post more links as more information is released

That statement is uninformed. First, the majority was written with two of the most liberal jurists on the bench. Second, the reason that the punitive damages were limited was because the Court said that it's unfair to give A money in order to punish the defendant for the harm done to millions of other people. It falls to those people to sue on their own behalf and take their share of the pie. Third, the only argument against this decision was not that it was in essence wrong, but that the jurisprudence of punitive damages was thrown into shambles by the ruling.

There is nothing to stop people from joining together into a class action suit and suing PM for all of the damage they have done. Then they would--and should--be required to pay such punitive damages of a value possibly higher than what they were required to pay here.



posted on Feb, 20 2007 @ 08:11 PM
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Originally posted by kenshiro2012
Yet, when a person who has been addicted to tobbacco for a decade or more (before the big "truth" was made known to the world) the Supreme Court rules against the citizen.

That is not true. She is receiving what is just. How is it just for her to receive money that should rightfully go to others?




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