Monday, October 07, 2002

From those wonderful people who brought you the OJ verdict

A Los Angeles jury Friday ordered tobacco giant Philip Morris Cos. (MO) to pay $28 billion in punitive damages to a 64-year-old woman with lung cancer who sued the company for fraud and negligence.

Does it occur to these juries that if one plaintiff sucks the tobacco companies dry, then many others will go uncompensated for their problems? Would a judge allow a defendant to point this out?

I can't find a link for it, but I thought I saw something once that claimed various health benefits from smoking. Specifically, I thought it somehow suppressed some other lung conditions such as tuberculosis. I'm enough of a contrarian to believe that anything as universally reviled as smoking must have some redeeming features.

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