Lawyer Attacks Lucky Strike Giveaway
MIAMI (AP) -- Lucky Strike may have intended to hand out messages of love on Valentines Day, but an attorney suing tobacco companies didn't find the gesture very sweet.
Long-stemmed roses with the message ``Lucky Loves You, Compliments of Lucky Strike,'' were handed out to thousands of pedestrians near a courthouse where a jury is hearing the damage claims of three smokers with cancer, smokers' attorneys said Wednesday in a court filing.
The roses were cited in a court filing as the latest example of the tobacco industry's violation of a gag order covering both sides of the landmark trial.
Attorney Stanley Rosenblatt asked Circuit Judge Robert Kaye to bar Brown & Williamson, makers of Lucky Strike, from any other stunts and highlighted the incident when asking a state appeals court to keep the gag order in place.
The rose giveaway -- as well as the company's Web site and its ads -- was ``intended to curry favor with the jury, influence public opinion in their favor and violate the gag order,'' Rosenblatt wrote.
The tobacco industry has asked the appeals court to wipe out the gag order before the jury decides punitive damages. Arguments were set for next week.
The jury already has ruled against the industry and will be asked within weeks to decide compensatory damages for the three smokers and then punitive damages for an estimated 500,000 sick Florida smokers.
The industry fears a record-setting $300 billion verdict and plummeting stock values if it doesn't have a chance to give its perspective on the jury award.
Brown & Williamson representatives did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
The other defendants are: R.J. Reynolds, Philip Morris, Lorillard, Liggett Group Inc., the Council for Tobacco Research and the Tobacco Institute.