Mass. Jury: Philip Morris Not Obligated to Pay for Smokers’ Cancer Screening

February 10, 2016

A 10-person jury in Boston on Wednesday rejected the claims made by a class of currently healthy Marlboro smokers in Massachusetts who wanted Philip Morris USA to pay for annual chest scans.

Altria Client Services senior vice president and associate general counsel, Murray Garnick, said in a statement that “Today’s unanimous verdict again demonstrates that these types of medical monitoring claims are meritless. The jury soundly rejected that Marlboro cigarettes are defectively designed.” Philip Morris is a unit of Altria Group Inc.

Garnick said this was the third case of its kind to go to trial. Two other similar trials took place in Louisiana and West Virginia in the early 2000s, and in each the jury ruled in favor of Philip Morris.

Philip Morris said further proceedings are expected in the district court following the jury’s verdict. The company said the judge presiding over the case has determined that she will decide whether there was a violation of Massachusetts’ consumer protection act.

This class-action lawsuit was originally filed in 2006.

Smokers in the lawsuit alleged Philip Morris manufactured a defective cigarette knowing it could have made a safer product with fewer carcinogens.

Philip Morris attorneys said cigarette buyers know the hazards of smoking and that the product isn’t defective.

The case is Donovan v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., case number 1:06-cv-12234, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).

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