Evans v. Lorillard Tobacco Co.

The son of a woman who died of lung cancer sued Lorillard Tobacco Company for wrongful death. A Massachusetts court awarded both compensatory and punitive damages to the son and to his mother’s estate. The appeals court upheld the finding of wrongful death based on Lorillard’s breach of the implied warranty of merchantability. The court said it was reasonable for a jury to find that Newport cigarettes were unreasonably dangerous (known as a “design defect”) and that Lorillard failed to provide adequate warning about the health hazards and addictiveness of Newport cigarettes prior to 1970 (known as a “warning defect”). However, the appeals court eliminated the punitive damages, which were based on the claim for negligence, which the court found it could not uphold for procedural reasons. The appeals court remanded (sent back to the lower court) the issue of whether Lorillard is liable for punitive damages based on violation of Massachusetts' wrongful death law.


Evans v. Lorillard Tobacco Co., 465 Mass. 411 (2013)

  • United States
  • Jun 11, 2013
  • Supreme Judicial Court of Massachussetts


Plaintiff Willie Evans

Defendant Lorillard Tobacco Company

Legislation Cited

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 229, section 2

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