Former tobacco model sues Reynolds over 'reputation'
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) â€” An Arkansas man who said he worked as a model in cigarette ads in the late 1970s sued R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. yesterday, saying he experienced years of emotional distress from enticing people to smoke.
Raymond Leopard of Little Rock seeks at least $65 million in damages in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court against Reynolds and its parent company, R.J.R. Nabisco Inc.
The suit said Mr. Leopard worked as the "Winston Man" from 1978 to 1980, pictured in Winston cigarette ads in popular magazines. The suit said he never smoked Winstons.
Mr. Leopard accuses the companies of manipulating the nicotine content of cigarettes, and of deceiving him and the public about the dangers of smoking. The suit says he suffered damage and injury as a result.
"His reputation has been forever tarnished and his personal credibility diminished," the suit said.
It said Mr. Leopard "has had to endure long episodes of remorse and guilt, particularly knowing that many people may have died as a result of his participation in the promotion of a product which he did not know was dangerous or deadly."
The suit seeks $40 million in compensatory damages, $25 million in punitive damages and costs.
Mr. Leopard did not immediately return a call to his home seeking comment. Calls to R.J. Reynolds' corporate headquarters seeking comment were not returned.