Philip Morris U.S.A. v. Williams
United States Supreme Court
127 S. Ct. 1057 (2007)
Jesse Williams, a heavy smoker of cigarettes manufactured by Philip Morris (defendant), died because of health problems associated with his smoking. His widow (plaintiff) brought this suit in Oregon state court for negligence and deceit. A jury found that Williams’ death was caused by smoking, that he smoked partly because he believed it was safe to do so, and that Philip Morris knowingly and falsely led him to believe that this was so. The jury ultimately found that Philip Morris was negligent and engaged in deceit. On the deceit claim, the jury awarded compensatory damages of $821,000 ($21,000 economic and $800,000 non-economic) along with $79.5 million in punitive damages. On appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court, Philip Morris argued that the trial court should have instructed the jury that it could not seek to punish Philip Morris for injury to other persons (other smokers) not present before the court. The Oregon Supreme Court judge rejected this proposal and upheld the verdict against Philip Morris. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Breyer, J.)
Dissent (Stevens, J.)
Dissent (Thomas, J.)
Dissent (Ginsburg, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 176,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.