Michigan family sues tobacco firm over woman's death
The family of deceased Mary Beckett has filed a lawsuit against Brown and Williamson Tobacco Co., in Kent County Circuit Court, Michigan, seeking $14.25 million in damages.
Mary Beckett died in March 1996 at age 69, after suffering a chronic lung disease linked to emphysema. She smoked Pall Mall cigarettes for decades and now her four sons and her daughter are claiming that the cigarette makers concealed the dangers of smoking and are responsible for her death. The suit, assigned to Chief Circuit Judge Dennis Kolenda, seeks $4 million for Beckett's pain and suffering and her "wrongful death;" $250,000 for medical expenses and burial costs; and $10 million for the tobacco company's "egregious" conduct. Pall Malls were formerly manufactured by American Tobacco Co. However, Brown and Williamson acquired the company and its brands in 1994, and along with that also assumed all litigation risks.