Philip Morris USA
12:38 pm
Fri April 29, 2011

Philip Morris USA, others win favorable verdict from St. Louis jury

Philip Morris USA and other major tobacco companies won a favorable verdict Friday in a lawsuit filed by 37 Missouri hospitals seeking more than $455 million for treating sick smokers.

Philip Morris USA was one of six tobacco companies involved in the lawsuit.

The hospitals had claimed cigarette companies delivered an "unreasonably dangerous" product and were seeking reimbursement back to 1993 for treating patients who had no insurance and did not pay their bills.

"The jury agreed with Philip Morris USA that ordinary cigarettes are not negligently designed or defective," Murray Garnick, Altria Client Services senior vice president and associate general counsel, said in a statement.

Ken Brostron of Lashly & Baer, lead attorney representing 29 plaintiffs operating the 37 Missouri hospitals involved in the suit commented on the verdict in a press release.

“We are disappointed that the jury chose not to hold tobacco companies liable for their product which claims not only the health but the lives of so many Missourians each year,” Brostron said.  “We’re proud of our clients who chose to see this case through to the end.”

Other details of the verdict handed down by the St. Louis jury weren't immediately available.

Philip Morris USA is owned by Altria Group Inc.

 

Updated 3:49 p.m. April 29 with comment from Brostron.