A jury awarded $71 million Tuesday to the family of Marie Evans, a deceased smoker from Roxbury, in a legal triumph against the cigarette company Lorillard, Inc. Evans’ estate was awarded $50 million in compensatory damages, and her son was awarded $21 million. A hearing on punitive damages is set for Thursday.
Plaintiffs said that Lorillard targeted black children by handing out free samples of Newports. Jurors viewed a videotaped deposition, taken weeks before Evans’ death, in which she said that she started being given the samples at only 9-years-old. She said that a man, known as “the cigarette man,” would pass out cigarettes from a white truck.
Lorillard said that Evans was responsible for her own death because she continued to smoke, even after suffering a heart attack and discovering that her father had died of lung cancer.
According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, African Americans have the highest tobacco-related mortality rate of any racial or ethnic group. Newport is the most popular cigarette brand among African-American young people, with 8 out of 10 young, black smokers choosing Newport, according to that website. Cigarette marketing has historically been more aggressive in low- income and minority communities.
The Boston Globe, Mass. jury rules against Lorillard, awards $71M to dead smoker’s family
If you have lost a family member because of the negligent conduct of another person or entity, contact a wrongful death attorney today.
To speak with an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Massachusetts, call 617 492 3000 or 800 481 6199 or contact us online.