Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Supreme Court Recognizes Reality – Cigarettes Cause Disease and Death

Tobacco Company Must Pay Damages – Even to Families of People Dumb Enough to Smoke

An interesting situation has arisen with the Supreme Court.  No, not the debate on the Constitutionality of the health care bill, that argument is pretty boring even if the decision when it comes will be pretty exciting.  No, the situation that has arisen that the Supreme Court has dealt with is whether or not a person suing the tobacco companies for damaging their health must show the tobacco companies knew their products were killers.

Now most of us would not see that as a big issue.  Of course the tobacco companies knew their products caused cancer, heart disease and death.  We mean, what did they think would happen when people breathed smoke into their lungs?  Plus there is all that documentation out there about how tobacco companies knew and suppressed damaging information about their product.

Anyway a case against a tobacco company was appealed to the Supreme Court.

R.J. Reynolds lawyers argued that the case should be overturned because Florida judges aren’t making plaintiffs prove cigarette makers knowingly sold dangerous and defective products. People suing cigarette companies only have to prove addiction, and that their illnesses, or deaths of family members, were caused by cigarettes.

The Supreme Court has decided not hear the case. 

The cigarette company says that standard violates due process. But the Supreme Court — without comment — refused to hear their argument.

which means the lower court decision awarding the family of Benny Martin $28.3 million stands. 

Personally we are torn over the good thing which is a tobacco company being held accountable and the family of an individual dumb enough to smoke getting a windfall of $28.3 million.

But one thing everyone is certain about is that the Supreme Court had a good laugh deciding on this one.  One can imagine them sitting around and saying how much a waste of time it would be to require plaintiff’s to provide the tobacco companies knowingly sold products that would cause disease and death.  Sort of like requiring a person who had suffered a bullet wound having to prove that a gun was involved.  Yeah, something like that.

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