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Cigarette Companies See Lawsuits Over Mesothelioma and Cancer From Asbestos in Filters

In the last few months, two major legal decisions have put cigarette companies and their role in smokers’ mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer into sharp focus. Two months ago in late July the Florida Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal filed by a smoker whose $8 million mesothelioma judgment against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company was dismissed, and earlier this month the Court of Appeals of the State of California upheld a $3.75 million decision against the same defendant. Both cases charged that the company’s cigarettes contained asbestos, making them largely responsible for illness, injury, and in the California case – death.

In Florida, the case involved Richard DeLisle, who was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma after years of smoking R.J.Reynolds’ Kent cigarettes in the 1950s. In California, William E. Major smoked several brands of cigarettes from 1961 to 1989, including Kent. Major died in 1998 of lung cancer. The cigarette manufacturer had used crocidolite asbestos in its filter, marketing its Micronite filters as the “Greatest health protection in history.”  Crocidolite asbestos is frequently called blue asbestos, and is considered the most hazardous of the six recognized types of asbestos.

DeLisle’s mesothelioma lawsuit resulted in a Florida jury agreeing with his assertion that the cigarette company was responsible for his illness and awarding him $8 million in damages. The award was reversed on appeal when R.J. Reynolds argued that the testimony of three of the expert witnesses in the trial should not have been allowed. The Florida Supreme Court has now agreed to hear an appeal of that reversal.

The California lawsuit filed by William E. Major’s widow saw settlements by all of the cigarette companies accused of liability except for R.J. Reynolds, and the jury decided against that company, judging that though Major had been 50 percent liable for his own death for having smoked and other cigarette manufacturers were 33 percent liable, R.J. Reynolds was 17 percent liable for his death, leading to the $3.75 million judgment, plus costs and interest. Reynolds appeal was rejected.

Mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer are deadly diseases that rob families of their loved ones. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with either of these diseases and need information on the resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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