Altria's Philip Morris Wins Jury Verdict in N.Y. Smoker's Death
New York, Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Philip Morris USA, a unit of Altria Group Inc., isn't responsible for the death of a long-time smoker of Marlboro Lights cigarettes, a New York jury said.
The jury in Queens, New York, deliberated less than a day before rejecting a claim by Peter Inzerilla, who sued the world's largest tobacco company over his wife Roseanne's death from lung cancer in 1994. She smoked Marlboro and Marlboro Lights.
Earlier this month, Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc. prevailed in the case of a California man with cancer, in a turnabout in a state where the tobacco industry had lost previous cases. In October, Philip Morris lost a $28 billion jury verdict in Los Angeles, the largest ever in a suit by an individual smoker, and was ordered to pay $3 billion by a Los Angeles jury in June 2001. Both awards were reduced.
In the New York case, Philip Morris claimed that Mrs. Inzerilla was aware of smoking's risks.
``This jury reached a correct verdict based on the law and the facts presented in this case,'' said William Ohlemeyer, Philip Morris's vice president and associate general counsel.
Stuart Finz, an attorney for Inzerilla, said he hasn't decided on an appeal. He said he also has other suits pending against the tobacco industry.
``I'm committed to the issue,'' Finz said. ``There has been fraudulent activity and we will do everything possible to bring the truth to the American people.''
New York-based Altria fell 47 cents to $37.02 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.