Cases & Deals

R.J. Reynolds wins complete defense verdict in Agnitti wrongful death lawsuit

Client(s) R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

Following more than five weeks of trial, a jury in state court in Woburn, Massachusetts returned a complete defense verdict in favor of Jones Day client, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, in a wrongful death case. The plaintiff asserted that Reynolds' cigarettes were defectively designed, negligently marketed, that Reynolds conspired with other tobacco manufacturers to conceal the health risks and addictive nature of cigarettes, and that Reynolds engaged in deceptive and unfair trade practices in its sale of cigarettes. The decedent began smoking at age 10 and continued to smoke for the next 50 years, including after her COPD diagnosis in the mid-1990s, and did not quit smoking until her lung cancer diagnosis in 2019. Plaintiff sought $225 million in damages, including $45 million in compensatory damages for decedent's husband and her three children, plus an additional $90 million in punitive damages from both Reynolds and the other defendant. After deliberating over three days, the jury returned a complete defense verdict.

Lorna Agnitti, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 2081-cv-00835 (Super. Ct. Middlesex Cty., Mass.)