Many of the asbestos-related verdicts that are covered in the news relate to workers who used materials and products alleged to contain asbestos, when those workers were performing their jobs in mechanical or industrial settings. Recently, a Florida jury ordered a defendant to pay $3.5 million in damages to a former smoker who allegedly developed mesothelioma after using Defendant’s cigarettes based on the asbestos contained in the cigarette filter.
Evidence presented in the case was that certain Kent cigarettes contained crocidolite asbestos in the “Micronite” filter marketed by Lorillard Tobacco. The allegations were that there were approximately 13 billion cigarettes with asbestos filters sold by the company between March 1952 and May 1956. The company claimed that it learned of using asbestos as a filter material from the manufacturer of gas masks used by the US armed forces, and it marketed the filters as offering a health protection.
The jury awarded damages, however, because of evidence that the company had reason to believe that there were potential health hazards related to the asbestos contained in the filters, and failed to inform the public about such potential hazards. In its defense, the company showed that testing performed on the cigarettes showed low exposures to asbestos.
For more information, see Richard Delisle v. Lorillard Tobacco, Broward County, Florida