Antonio Cipollone, Awarded First Anti-Tobacco Damages, Dies at 66
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ Antonio Cipollone, whose landmark lawsuit against three cigarette companies resulted in the first smoker-death jury award, has died. He was 66.
Cipollone, a retired Italian immigrant steel worker, was admitted to Community Memorial Hospital in Toms River, N.J., on Jan. 4, a day before the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the $400,000 judgment awarded by a federal jury here in June 1988, said his wife, Dorothy.
″It didn’t seem to concern him in the least,″ she said Thursday. ″He never got uptight about anything.″
She said Cipollone died Jan. 10 of pneumonia and heart failure. He had a quadruple bypass operation in 1986.
The appeals court ordered a new trial, opening the door for new issues, and vacated the money damages assessed to Liggett Group Inc. The award was the first relatives of victims of smoking-related diseases had recovered from a cigarette concern.
Cipollone had carried on the lawsuit brought by him and his first wife, Rose, who died at 58 of lung cancer in 1984. The lawsuit, filed in 1983, named Liggett, Lorillard Inc. and Philip Morris Inc., which made the cigarettes Rose Cipollone smoked.
″He was happy that he had gone through with whatever his wife Rose had started. He never had regrets,″ said Dorothy Cipollone.
Cipollone’s attorney, Marc Z. Edell, said the family was still deciding whether to continue the case. ″My impression was, it was so much a part of Rose’s life and Tony’s life, they don’t want to let it go,″ he said.
Charles Wall, an attorney for Liggett and Philip Morris, said: ″We’re very sad, and sorry, and do express our sympathy to the family.″
He said it was unclear what effect Cipollone’s death would have on the case, which was being handled by Cipollone’s lawyers on a contingency basis.
Born Aug. 31, 1923, in a village between Rome and Naples, Cipollone left Italy at age 15 with his mother and two sisters, and settled in New York City. He worked on construction jobs, with U.S. steel from 1950 to 1979, and operated his own cable-slicing business from 1978 until his retirement in 1986.
In addition to his wife, survivors include a son and two daughters from his marriage to Rose. He was buried Saturday in New York City.