Case Detail

Evans v. Lorillard Tobacco Co.
On June 10, 2013, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court partially overturned a $116 million judgment issued to a smoker who filed a lawsuit nearly 20 years after she suffered a heart attack that she knew was related to her smoking. The court threw out an $81 million punitive damages award but upheld a $35 million award for compensatory damages. The decision was a partially victory for WLF, which filed a brief urging the court to throw out the entire damages award. The Court rejected defense claims regarding an issue on which WLF focused: the statute of limitations. WLF argued that statutes of limitations begin to run from the date on which the plaintiff first discovers that she has been injured by the defendantís wrongdoing, and should not be restarted even if she later discovers that the wrongdoing has caused another type of injury. The court disagreed, finding that the limitations period starts anew with respect to each separate disease, even if the diseases have a common cause.
Case Status:
Partial victory.
More Information and Downloads:
6/8/2012: Download the Brief
Press Release: Court Urged To Adhere To First-Injury Rule In Computing Limitations Periods
Litigation Update: Court Partially Overturns Massive Product Liability Award
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