Attorneys Predict Victory in Cigarette Lawsuit
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) _ Attorneys for both sides are predicting victory in a $1 million wrongful- death lawsuit filed against the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. by the family of a man who smoked for 50 years.
Superior Court Judge Bruce Dodds cleared the way for final arguments today after denying requests by attorneys that he, rather than the jury, decide the case.
The suit, one of many filed recently against tobacco companies, contends cigarettes manufactured by R.J. Reynolds caused the death of John Mark Galbraith in July 1982. He was 69.
″We showed that Mr. Galbraith suffered illnesses as a result of cigarette smoking,″ attorney Paul Monzione said after Wednesday’s court session. ″In this case Reynolds introduced no evidence whatsoever that the product isn’t defective.″
″Plaintiffs simply failed to prove that there was any defect in cigarettes and they failed to prove that Reynolds is responsible for any failure to warn Mr. Galbraith about the risks associated with cigarette smoking,″ said John Nyhan, an attorney for Reynolds. ″There’s been no evidence warranting the jury to reach a judgment for plaintiffs.″
Both sides called expert witnesses to testify about Galbraith’s health, as well as risks or lack of risks associated with cigarette smoking.
The last expert to take the stand was Dr. Raymond Yesner of Yale University who testifed that Galbraith suffered from lung cancer.
Yesner was called to rebut the testimony of Dr. Benjamin Jenson of Georgetown University who said a growth on Galbraith’s lungs was misdiagnosed as cancer. He said it actually was a wart-like benign tumor called a papilloma.