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Lorillard Pays $1.5 Million in Smoking Suit

January 01, 1998| Reuters

Lorillard Tobacco Co. has paid more than $1.5 million to the family of a smoker who died of cancer, the first time a U.S. cigarette maker has paid a smoking-related personal injury claim, lawyers said. Milton Horowitz, a Beverly Hills psychoanalyst, died in 1996 from a type of lung cancer attributed to the asbestos found in the filters of Kent cigarettes that Lorillard manufactured in the early 1950s. Kent touted its asbestos "Micronite" filters as a healthy alternative to regular cigarettes before eventually replacing them with cheaper, non-asbestos filters in 1956. In the suit, Horowitz and his family claimed that Lorillard, a division of Loews Corp., and the filter manufacturer, Hollingsworth & Vose Co., made a defective product and intentionally defrauded smokers about its safety. A San Francisco jury in 1995 awarded them $1.3 million in compensatory damages for medical and other expenses and $700,000 in punitive damages. In August, a state appeals court upheld the verdict, and this week Lorillard paid the compensatory portion of the award, plus interest: a total of $1,556,851. William Ohlemeyer, Lorillard's attorney, said the company would likely continue to appeal the punitive portion of the award to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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