Cigarette Company to Pay $71M in Suit Over Dead Smoker

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A Boston court awarded $71 million in damages Tuesday to the family of a dead smoker, after the jury found that the marketing campaign of cigarette maker Lorillard Inc. seduced the dead woman into smoking Newport cigarettes when she was only a teenager, Boston.com reported.

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The estate of Marie Evans was awarded compensatory damages of $50 million, while Evans' only son William, who brought the suit, was awarded $21 million.

A Thursday hearing on punitive damages could result in Lorillard paying more.

The jury found that Lorillard, which makes Newport, Maverick, Old Gold, Kent, True and Satin brand cigarettes, was negligent in passing out cigarettes to children, such as Evans.

Evans was 54 when she died of lung cancer in 2002 after smoking Newport cigarettes for 40 years. But weeks before she died, she gave a videotaped deposition in which she said she received free cigarette samples when she was 9 years old. Evans said she began to smoke the samples at the age of 13.

Evans' lawyers also claimed that Lorillard targeted minority communities with Newports, a menthol brand popular among black communities.

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During the trial, Lorillard lawyers argued that the company never targeted black communities with Newports, and that they never marketed to children.

Read more: http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2010/12/jury_finds_toba.html