Grady Carter

Carter was a former air-traffic controller who had smoked cigarettes for 43 years, mostly Lucky Strikes, a Brown & Williamson brand.

In 1991, Carter was diagnosed with lung cancer. Half a lung had to be removed and Carter stopped smoking with great difficulty. Three years later he was appalled when he saw the seven tobacco executives testify before Congress that tobacco wasn't addictive.

Norwood "Woody" Wilner, an attorney in Jacksonville, Florida was about to launch a series of suits against tobacco companies. He chose Carter to be his client in the suit against Brown & Williamson. During the trial Wilner introduced for the first time 21 documents that had been stolen from Big Tobacco as evidence in the case. The documents were showing that the tobacco executives were aware of the addictive and harmful nature of tobacco and chose to not to disclose the results of the research.

Even though the documents had been stolen, Judge Brian Davis ruled the documents admissible and let the jury use the memos in reaching their decision.

The trial took three weeks and in the end the jury's verdict said that the tobacco company was liable for Carter's lung cancer. Carter was awarded $750,000 in damages to reimburse his medical and related costs.

Carter vs. Brown & Williamson was the first time an individual smoker had won a lawsuit over a tobacco company.

 

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