Smoking is a deadly habit, and thousands of people die from smoking-related illnesses each year. People in modern society generally understand cigarettes to be dangerous, but in prior times the risks associated with smoking were less clear. As such, in the late 1990s, the Attorney General filed a complaint against cigarette manufacturers and obtained substantial damages via a settlement agreement. The agreement did not preclude other parties from pursuing claims against cigarette manufacturers, though, as illustrated in a recent Massachusetts ruling issued in a wrongful death case. If you suffered harm due to a dangerous product, you might be owed compensation, and it is in your best interest to meet with a trusted Massachusetts personal injury lawyer to evaluate your potential claims.
The History of Proceedings
Allegedly, the plaintiff, the wife of a deceased smoker, brought wrongful death claims against the defendant, the cigarette manufacturer. The complaint alleged, among other things, that the defendant caused the plaintiff’s husband’s death by selling unreasonably dangerous and defective cigarettes. The case proceeded to trial, and the jury found in favor of the plaintiff. The court entered a judgment in the plaintiff’s favor, and the defendant appealed.
Claim Preclusion Under Massachusetts Law
On appeal, the defendant argued that the plaintiff’s claims were precluded by a previous settlement agreement between the State Attorney General and the defendant. The appellate ultimately disagreed and affirmed the trial court ruling. Continue Reading ›