When a person dies from a smoking-related disease such as lung cancer, is it possible that a tobacco company be held liable? The answer is yes, as a Florida jury recently agreed that a cigarette addiction caused David Freeman’s lung cancer, and eventual death. Cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris USA Inc. has been ordered to pay $4 million to Jo Freeman, the wife of Mr. Freeman, for wrongful death. Mrs. Freeman was represented by Randy Rosenblum of Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP.
The verdict was handed down on March 13. The jury found Mr. Freeman to be 40 percent at fault for his own death, with Philip Morris USA Inc. liable for the remaining 60 percent. Despite the percent of fault attributed to Mr. Freeman, the jury found that the man relied on Philip Morris USA Inc.’s fraudulent concealment.
Mr. Freeman, a contractor in Florida, started smoking as a teen. He originally started smoking Marlboro cigarettes and later switched to Benson & Hedges—both brands manufactured by Philip Morris USA Inc. For more than 30 years, he smoked between 1.5 and 3 packs of cigarettes a day.
He quit smoking in 1990, however, he was diagnosed with his lung cancer in 1995 and died later that year at age 54. His wife of more than 30 years brought the lawsuit against Philip Morris USA Inc. She claims that Philip Morris USA Inc. intentionally hid the dangers of smoking, which caused her husband to develop a fatal addiction to nicotine.
Philip Morris Denies Blame
Philip Morris USA Inc. denies causing the man’s death. They deny Mr. Freeman was addicted to nicotine. They also deny that his choice to smoke was caused by the company’s fraudulent actions. The tobacco manufacturer claims that the man could have stopped smoking at any time, and his choice to continue smoking ultimately led to his lung cancer and death. Philip Morris USA Inc. also claims that the man’s lung cancer was not even caused by smoking. Instead, the defendant asserted that it was caused by exposure to silica dust and asbestos during the man’s career as a contractor.
The Importance of Having a Lawyer by Your Side
Ultimately, the jury award will help Mrs. Freeman move forward with her life in the aftermath of her husband’s wrongful death in 1995. If you believe you have a wrongful death case, you are not alone. You may be entitled to compensation. The Miami wrongful death lawyers at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP can assess your claim. Schedule your consultation today by calling us at (305) 371-2692 or visiting us online.