Phillip Morris USA parent company, Altria, ordered to pay $13.8 million in punitive damages to the daughter of a deceased Marlboro woman. The Los Angeles jury verdict penalized the largest U.S. cigarette maker who manufactures Marlboro and Benson & Hedges.
California product liability lawyers recover $13.8 million punitive damages verdict against cigarette maker Altria, parent company of Philip Morris USA.
Los Angeles, CA–California product liability lawyers recovered a $13.8 billion punitive damages jury verdict in a Los Angeles Superior Court room this week. The case, Bullock v. Philip Morris USA Inc., BC249171, Superior Court of California (Los Angeles County), ended with the parent company of Philip Morris USA, Altria, ordered to pay millions to the plaintiff, Jodie Bullock. Lawyers representing Jodie Bullock, the daughter of now deceased smoker, Betty Bullock, finally claimed victory after a 6 plus year long legal battle which started with an initial U.S. record jury verdict of $28 billion in the first trial, which ended in 2002 in favor of Bullock.
Bullock asserted her mother smoked Marlboro and Benson & Hedges cigarettes for 45 years while the tobacco product manufacturer misrepresented the health risks of smoking for 50 years. Betty Bullock, a former nurse began smoking at the young age of 17 and after 45 years of smoking died from lung cancer in 2003. The deceased smoker contended Philip Morris used misleading advertisements to start and keep her smoking plus misrepresented the health risks associated with cigarette use, especially the risk of lung cancer, until it was too late for her to quit.
As reported by Bloomberg, attorneys for Altria may exercise their right to appeal again which may end the current victory celebration by the Bullocks legal team. In 2002, Bullock recovered the second largest jury verdict in U.S. history of $28 billion in punitive damages, which was reduced by the trial judge and then an appellate court threw the jury verdict out completely. The appeals court ordered a new trial citing judicial error which eventually resulted in the current punitive damages verdict of $13.8 million. Altria, headquartered in Henrico County, Virginia, reported $19.4 billion in sales in 2008.
California product liability lawsuit information by Heather L. Ryan, legal news reporter.