Gourlain v. National Society of Tobacco and Matches

The Gourlain family filed suit against the National Society of Tobacco and Matches (SEITA), alleging that its family member started smoking as a child because of lack of information and misleading advertisements regarding the danger and addictive nature of smoking.  The family member's smoking caused health problems and ultimately death.  The family further claimed that SEITA aired tobacco advertisements despite its knowledge of the existing connection between tobacco consumption and lung cancer and argued that SEITA, as a manufacturer, is responsible for the intrinsic danger of its products.  The court held in favor of the family, explaining that the deceased would not have begun smoking had he known about the risks involved.  The court however considered that the deceased contributed to his health problems by continuing to smoke once aware of the risk.  The court accordingly decreased the damages awarded.  The court further held that merely marketing dangerous products does not make a manufacturer responsible for their use and dismissed the products liability claim.


Gourlain, et al. v. National Society of Tobacco and Matches, No. 9601838, Court of First Instance - Montargis (1999).

  • France
  • Dec 8, 1999
  • Court of First Instance - Montargis



  • Charlotte Dufeux
  • Lucette Gourlain
  • Richard Gourlain
  • Richard-Pierre Gourlain
  • Sébastien Gourlain

Defendant National Society of Tobacco and Matches (SEITA)

Legislation Cited

Veil Law, 1976

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues

Type of Tobacco Product