Henley v. Philip Morris, Inc.
California Court of Appeal
9 Cal. Rptr. 3d 29 (2004)
Henley (plaintiff) began smoking Marlboro cigarettes, which were manufactured by Philip Morris, Inc. (Morris) (defendant), when she was 15 years old. Henley became addicted and smoked for 35 years. Henley was diagnosed with lung cancer. Henley brought a products-liability suit against Morris, claiming its cigarettes were defective. Henley presented evidence that Morris intentionally deceived the public as to the dangerousness of cigarettes for several years, targeting teenagers through advertising. Morris also failed to warn of the known dangers of cigarettes, including their addictiveness. The jury awarded Henley $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages. On Morris’s motion, the trial court gave Henley a choice: consent to a reduction in punitive damages to $25 million or have a new trial solely on the issue of punitive damages. Henley consented to the reduction, and the trial court entered judgment in favor of Henley. Morris appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Sepulveda, J.)
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