The attorney for the family of a Boston woman who started smoking when she was 13 years old asked Suffolk Superior Court jurors this afternoon to hold the cigarette maker accountable, saying the company seduced the woman with free samples of cigarettes beginning when she was just nine years old.
“The name of the game was to hook them while they’re young,” said Boston attorney Michael Weisman, representing the estate of Marie Evans.
But Walter Cofer, a Kansas City-based lawyer representing Lorillard Inc., said today that the cigarette manufacturer should not be held responsible for a woman who continued to smoke even after she knew of the health risks, noting she suffered from a heart attack 15 years ago that could be attributed to smoking, yet she did not quit.
Evans smoked Newport cigarettes for 40 years before dying in 2002 of lung cancer. She was 54.
Her son, William Evans, representing her estate, sued Lorillard for neglect and he's seeking damages for his mother’s death.
The case is the first in which plaintiffs have targeted a cigarette maker’s past practice of giving out samples, arguing that it targeted children.
Both lawyers made their closing arguments to jurors today. Jurors may begin deliberating this afternoon after hearing instructions on the law.
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