Friday the 13th was not a lucky day for Phillip Morris — widow Ellen Hess won a landmark verdict in the first of 8000 test cases brought against Phillip Morris for tobacco-caused lung cancer. Mrs. Hess proved that her husband was addicted to smoking and could not quit, and jurors held Phillip Morris responsible for causing his addiction.
This case is a landmark victory because Phillip Morris won an earlier appeal throwing out a class action verdict in favor of dead and dying smokers. In that case, the Florida Supreme Court found that each and every single smoker must sue Phillip Morris and prove their case individually. Sadly, this will mean each person who has had a loved one die must endure a trial against Phillip Morris, who refuses to pay any verdict without appealing to every possible court, a process that has taken decades.
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Working late tonight researching the uses of asbestos in telephone communications equipment. It is a little known fact that the central offices were often laced with asbestos in the equipment and the construction materials. Even the floors were asbestos-containing vinyl floor tile and those were drilled in daily to install and move equipment. I have successfully represented telephone communications workers, and hope we can get the word out to more of these dedicated folks so that they can insist on the removal of these materials from their workplace.
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