Tobacco firm Altadis wins smoker's suit
MADRID, May 30 (Reuters) - French-Spanish tobacco company Altadis said on Tuesday a judge has thrown out the latest Spanish lawsuit brought by smokers or their families seeking compensation for damages caused by smoking.
Two separate cases were shelved on procedural grounds, one in Spain and one in France, the company said in a news release.
Unlike in the United States, where tobacco companies have been forced to pay or have agreed to pay large awards, in Spain none of the three previous smoking-related lawsuits have succeeded so far, but they are being appealed to higher courts.
Altadis said the latest case to be thrown out involved the first concerning a smoker who died of a heart attack.
The deceased's wife was seeking unspecified damages from Tabacalera, the Spanish company that merged with France's Seita to form Altadis, and Philip Morris Spain (NYSE:MO - news).
But the judge ruled there was no proof smoking led directly to the heart attack and that the man should have been well informed of the risks of smoking, Altadis said. This case also is being appealed.
Three previous cases against Altadis have been rejected by judges in Spain, two of them from sufferers of Buerger's Syndrome and one from a lung cancer patient.