The Boston Globe is reporting that the family of a woman who was given free Newport cigarettes as a child living in Boston housing projects has won a $152 million judgment against Lorillard, makers of Newport cigarettes. Evans first received free cigarettes at the age of 9 and was a regular smoker by the time she was 13 years old. Evans died of lung cancer in 2002, and her family sued Lorillard for its negligence in giving out free cigarettes to children, knowing the addictive qualities of cigarettes.
The groundbreaking case has exposed an industrywide marketing strategy that began a half century ago to promote cigarettes to youngsters. In Evans' case it was Newport, a brand particularly popular among young smokers and the black community. The judgment, $71 million in compensatory damages for Evans' estate and her son, and $81 million in punitive damages for her estate, is among the largest in the country from a tobacco wrongful-death suit, and the largest for any trial in a Massachusetts court, industry analysts said. The case is not over yet. Judge Elizabeth Fahey, who presided over the trial in Suffolk Superior Court, is considering whether to award more money under the state's consumer-protection laws. Lorillard denies targeting cigarettes toward young people and plans to appeal the verdict. Giving out cigarettes to 9-year-olds? What could possibly be the company's defense?
Read more at Boston.com.