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Flight Attendant Loses Tobacco Claim

October 5, 2002

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MIAMI (AP) _ A flight attendant’s claim that her sinus disease was caused by years of working in smoky jet cabins was rejected Friday by a jury, the second such victory for tobacco companies in a month.

The jury deliberated two hours before rejecting a $1.1 million claim for damages by Julia Tucker, a 25-year US Airways flight attendant with chronic sinusitis.

Industry attorney Dan Molony blamed Tucker’s illnesses on allergies, rather than cigarette smoke.

The trial over compensatory damages grew out of a 1997 class-action settlement between four leading cigarette makers and nonsmoking flight attendants.

The settlement set up a $300 million foundation to study smoke-related illnesses and paved the way for compensatory damage trials on 1,800 attendants’ claims. Punitive damages are not allowed.

Four previous trials on attendants’ claims have ended with a $5.5 million verdict, two decisions favoring tobacco and a mistrial.

Philip Gerson, one of Tucker’s attorneys, said he was disappointed by Friday’s verdict, but he said he did not believe the cases would affect future claims.

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