Louisiana Jury Rules For Tobacco Firms
A Louisiana jury Friday ruled in favor of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc. and British American Tobacco Plc's Brown & Williamson in a negligence suit filed by the family of a deceased smoker who had cancer and emphysema.
The decision in the case -- first filed 12 years ago -- comes on the heels of a landmark class-action verdict in Miami Wednesday, where a jury ruled that all major U.S. tobacco companies hid the dangers of their products from smokers and could be liable for damages worth billions of dollars to smokers in Florida.
In the Louisiana case, Robert C. Gilboy, et. al. vs. The American Tobacco Co. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., the court found there was insufficient evidence to support the negligence claim, the tobacco companies said.
Gilboy family attorney Sean Fagan told Reuters the judge had refused to allow the introduction of evidence -- testimony from a doctor -- that Fagan felt would have swayed the jury in the plaintiffs' favor. Fagan said that because of legal costs, he was not sure if the family would appeal the decision.
"This was kind of a classic David vs. Goliath case,'' said Fagan, who handled the case for several years with George ''Gere'' Covert. The case was head in the Parish of East Baton Rouge, District Court for the 19th Judicial District, and tried before Judge R. Michael Caldwell.