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"If you can defeat the motion to dismiss, you're 75 percent of the way home."

So said the experienced director of the Tobacco Products Liability Project at Northeastern University. In this case, it's very hard to imagine a jury not finding against Lorillard, Corp. in an astounding case of defective marketing. The Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports on a case involving Marie Evans, who died in 2002 at age 54. She had been a smoker for 40 years.

According to the suit, Ms. Evans and other black children started recieving free Newport cigarettes in her Boston neighborhood when she was 9 years old. She at first traded the cigarettes for candy, but started smoking herself at 13. Lawyers for her son, Will Evans, allege that Ms. Evans was too young to recognize the hazards of smoking and was pulled in by advertising specifically aimed at blacks.

The cigarette giveaways apparently violated a law against giving cigarettes to minors.

Lorillard attempted to exclude, as a matter of law, liability for any harm to Evans that occurred after 1969, when Congress required cigarettes to carry a warning label and when Ms. Evans was 21. Evans's health problems allegedly did not begin until she suffered a heart attack in 1984. The trial judge denied Lorillard's motion -- so Lorillard will have to argue the proximate causation issue to the jury.

I think 75% is an understatement....



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.