A Florida jury has returned a $43 million verdict in a suit over a lung cancer patient’s death, saying cigarette maker Philip Morris was 85% responsible for the harm.
The jury in Florida’s 11th Circuit awarded $3.75 million in compensatory damages each to the husband and three children of Norma Lipp, who died in November 1993. It also awarded $28 million in punitive damages. Lipp was 15% responsible for her injuries.
Lipp, born in Canada in 1938, moved to Connecticut in 1959 and then to Florida in 1969.
Little is known about her smoking habits before she moved to Florida, although her family said she started smoking at age 12.
Lipp’s documented smoking history, beginning in 1969, included Virginia Slims, and her habit held a tight grip on her despite her lifelong interest in fitness.
The jury found that the legal cause of Lipp’s death was addiction to nicotine cigarettes, caused by her reliance on statements made by Philip Morris, and concealment of information during its promotion of tobacco over the decades.
Lipp had a lung removed and was undergoing chemotherapy at the time of her death.
Lipp’s case was one of the many Engle progeny cases.