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Published: Friday, 4/29/2011

Philip Morris USA and other tobacco companies win lawsuit by hospitals seeking $455 million


RICHMOND, Va.  — Philip Morris USA and other major tobacco companies won a lawsuit Friday filed by 37 Missouri hospitals seeking more than $455 million for treating sick smokers.

Philip Morris USA was one of six tobacco companies involved in the lawsuit. The case was filed as the City of St. Louis v. American Tobacco Co.

The hospitals had claimed cigarette companies delivered an “unreasonably dangerous” product. They were seeking reimbursement back to 1993 for treating sick smokers who had no insurance and did not pay their bills.

A call to the attorney representing the hospitals, Kenneth Brostron, was not immediately returned.

Philip Morris USA and Lorillard Inc. were supportive of the verdict.

“The jury agreed with Philip Morris USA that ordinary cigarettes are not negligently designed or defective,” Murray Garnick, Altria Client Services senior vice president and associate general counsel, said in a statement.

“Compelling evidence was presented to the jury, including testimony from hospital witnesses, that confirmed the hospitals were not financially damaged as they asserted,” Ronald S. Milstein, Lorillard senior vice president and general counsel, said in a statement.

Other details of the verdict handed down by the St. Louis jury weren’t immediately available.

Lorillard, whose brands include Newport and Maverick, is based in Greensboro, N.C.

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