Rose Cipollone was 57 years old and dying of lung cancer when she filed a
product liability suit against three cigarette makers - Liggett Group, Philip
Morris and Lorillard. Cipollone had averaged a pack and a half a day since she
was 16 years old and was accusing the tobacco companies of failing to warn her
adequately of the potential lethal effects of cigarettes and their addictive
Cipollone died in October 1994, but her lawyer Marc Edell pursued the
District court judge Lee Sarokin presided over the case and ruled a number of
times to open up the discovery process. The documents obtained represented the
first glimpse by an outsider into the internal documents of the tobacco
Judge Lee Sarokin ruled that Liggett was to pay $400,000 in damages to
Cipollone's family - the first time a tobacco company had to pay damages to
the family of a stricken smoker. Liggett was held to have been negligent for
its failure to warn smokers properly of the health risks prior to 1966 and for
advertising that could be interpreted as a warranty for safety. Philip Morris
and Lorillard were let off completely because Cipollone had started smoking
these brands after the warnings began in 1966.
Sarokin's opinion in this case, and in the Haines case, were extremely
critical of the tobacco companies and formed the basis for a Justice Department
the criminal probe .
will there be a deal? .
a look at the depositions .
big tobacco - what's at stake .
links & readings .
tapes & transcripts .
frontline online .
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