Tobacco industry officials called the punitive damages “grossly excessive” and are considering an appeal. The plaintiffs’ star witness was Jeffrey Wigand, a former vice president of research and development for B&W. His complaints against tobacco companies eventually led to huge settlements with all states to recoup health costs. Wigand testified that lawyers reworked “controversial” documents to make them seem innocuous or shipped them overseas to avoid U.S. courts. Wigand also testified that Kool cigarettes were especially deadly because they had the most nicotine, but he said the cigarette’s menthol masked it.
Philip Morris USA and B&W have also paid a total of $4.5 million to a Florida man with emphysema in November. This was PM’s first-ever payment to an injured individual smoker. The plaintiff’s lawyer made no statement about the event until the time for a last-resort appeal to the US Supreme Court passed in January. A jury in St Petersburg, Florida found in 2003 that the two tobacco companies should pay $3.26 million to John Eastman because they were partially liable for causing his addiction to cigarettes, which led to his health problems.
This information was sourced from the newsletter of the International Agency on Tobacco and Health.