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Portland, Oregon

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Should Philip Morris be Subject to Collective Punishment?

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In an Oregon Court case, Philip Morris complained that the non-parties in the case were never identified, their individual circumstances were not presented in court, and there was no way for a defendant to respond to allegations of widespread harm.

Philip Morris argues that individual smokers should have to prove their own cases.

In my opinion, this illustrates a larger issue of personal responsibility. Should the courts decide that individuals should have listened to the governments health warnings or the cigarette companies assurances that cigarettes were not harmful. Common sense would indicate that the former would be true.

Read more about the recent case and the issue of damages in this story by Associated Press reporter Pete Yost-
In Oregon case, court weighs damages against cigarette company
By PETE YOST / Associated Press

In the case over punitive damages, the Williams family is counting on justices to find that Philip Morris’ conduct was so reprehensible that it justifies exceeding guidelines the court has laid out in two rulings in the past 10 years that struck down large awards.

One difference is that the earlier cases did not involve physical injuries.

The company doesn’t deny making public statements rejecting a link between smoking and cancer; rather, it says there’s no evidence Williams ever heard the statements or ever read them.