Cigarette Makers Cleared in Cancer Case
MIAMI - Two cigarette companies were cleared of blame Friday in the death of a 50-year smoker who had cancer from head to foot when he died.
The jury asked for and received copies of testimony from doctors on both sides who disagreed about the cause of photographer Bob Allen's cancer.
Family attorneys said the cause was his addiction to cigarettes since age 13. Experts for Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds insisted his cancer spread from his kidneys and the cause will never be known.
Tobacco lawyers said his smoking, alcoholism, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and blood pressure medication were possibilities.
"I have no comment. It's kind of hard right now," said Allen's widow Sylvia. She bowed her head after the verdict was read. Her lead attorney slumped in his chair.
Allen's death certificate listed the cause of death as lung cancer from smoking. Tobacco lawyers blamed that on a public health bias against smoking in a case with no autopsy.
The Miami man started smoking Reynolds' filterless Camels in an era when doctors and sports stars were featured in cigarette advertising. He switched to Philip Morris' Benson & Hedges menthol 100s, a filtered cigarette, to appease his three children.
"This verdict shows once again that jurors who have seen the evidence generally use their common sense and conclude that smokers have long been aware of the well-known risks of smoking, and that people who choose to smoke in the face of these known risks should not be financially rewarded," said Benjamine Reid, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company's lead attorney in the case.
William S. Ohlemeyer, Philip Morris USA vice president and associate general counsel, said much the same: "The jury reached the correct decision in light of evidence that showed Mr. Allen was well aware of the risks of smoking and accepted those risks."