Jury finds Tobacco Firms not guilty in Tennessee Trial
The jury in the Tennessee Trial ruled on Monday that the tobacco companies involved were not at fault for the deaths of the three long-time cigarette smokers.
The case brought on in the Shelby County Circuit Court by the families of James Karney, Bobby Newcomb and Florence Bruch, sued three major tobacco companies for selling an unreasonably dangerous product. However, after less than four days of deliberations, the jury held that the 3 tobacco companies - Phillip Morris Inc., Brown and Williamson tobacco Corp. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. - were not responsible for the death of the three smokers. This has been a great victory for the tobacco industry following jury verdicts earlier this year in California and Oregon that awarded record damage amounts to plaintiffs in similar smoking cases. James Johnson, a lawyer for R.J. Reynolds, said he was pleased that after four months of testimony the jury ``conscientiously applied the law'' and determined that ``somebody who smokes and being fully aware of the risks of smoking ought not collect money.'' ``Today's jury verdicts in three separate suits represent a significant victory and confirm that juries are still able to apply common sense and reasonable judgment regarding tobacco lawsuits,'' said Gordon Smith, attorney for Brown & Williamson.