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Judge increases award in tobacco suit

Son of lung-cancer victim will receive interest on $152 million judgment

A Superior Court judge in Massachusetts ruled yesterday that the son of a lung-cancer victim may collect interest on the award he won last year against a tobacco company for causing his mother’s death. Willie Evans was awarded $152 million against Lorillard Tobacco Co. in 2010. Superior Court Judge Elizabeth M. Fahey said he can collect 12 percent interest a year on that award retroactive to 2004. The interest could double the award.

In his suit, Willie claimed the company was responsible for Marie Evan’s death because it distributed free cigarettes to her (and others in her African-American community) when she was a child.

Fahey also found that Lorillard violated consumer protection laws by marketing to minors in black communities 50 years ago even though the company knew at the time the product caused cancer.

“I accept that Lorillard manipulates the levels of tar, nicotine, and menthol in Newport cigarettes, which eases initiation to smoking and often results in lifelong addicts with negative health consequences,” Fahey said during her ruling. “The evidence convincingly established that over decades [Lorillard] marketed its cigarettes, including Newports, to minors.”

Read more about Judge Fahey’s ruling.

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Cathleen Flahardy

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