Wed, Feb 12, 2003
R.J. Reynolds Wins 'Seal' Flight Attendant Case In Florida
A Miami jury found last week that R.J. Reynolds
Tobacco Company and other cigarette manufacturers are not liable in
the Seal case, a secondhand smoke suit filed by James A.
Seal, a United Airlines flight attendant. Seal is the
sixth case of its type to go to trial since 2001. Juries ruled in
favor of the tobacco industry in the Fontana, Janoff and
Tucker cases, but ruled against the industry in the
French case. The Quiepo case ended in a mistrial
in May 2002 and was subsequently dismissed.
"After hearing all the facts in this case, the six-member jury
unanimously agreed that Mr. Seal's exposure to secondhand smoke in
airplanes did not aggravate his asthma," said R. Dal Burton,
Reynolds Tobacco's attorney in the case. "In fact," he added,
"credible evidence does not exist to show that secondhand smoke
aggravated Mr. Seal's asthma. "This victory was particularly
satisfying because an order that was entered in these
flight-attendant cases effectively and wrongfully prevented us from
fully defending ourselves," Burton said. "Despite this handicap, we
is a flight attendant who claimed that his underlying asthma was
aggravated as a result of his exposure to secondhand smoke in
aircraft cabins from 1973 until the present, while working as a
flight attendant for United Airlines.
Seal is among approximately 2,800 suits filed by
individuals seeking compensatory damages for injuries allegedly
caused by occupational exposure to secondhand smoke as a flight
attendant. These suits stem from the Broin class-action suit, which
was settled in 1997.
Other defendants in the Seal case included Philip
Morris USA Inc., Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation,
Lorillard Tobacco Company and the American Tobacco Company.
FMI: www.rjrt.com (Look under
Tobacco Issues, Litigation, Case Backgrounders, Seal
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