August 1, 2013 – Wrongful death lawyers from NYC-based personal injury law firm Levy Konigsberg LLP, nationally recognized for their work on behalf mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer victims, have obtained a historic, $5.5 Million federal tobacco verdict for the family of a lung cancer victim from Long Island, New York.
Wrongful death lawyers from NYC-based personal injury law firm Levy Konigsberg LLP, nationally recognized for their work on behalf mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer victims, have obtained a historic, $5.5 Million federal tobacco verdict for the family of a lung cancer victim from Long Island, New York.
NEW YORK, New York, August 1, 2013 – Wrongful death lawyers from the law firm of Levy Konigsberg LLP (“LK”) won a historic verdict on July 30, 2013, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (White Plains), on behalf of the estate and family of David Mulholland, a Long Island resident who died of lung cancer from a life-long smoking addiction.
At the conclusion of a two-week trial, the federal jury unanimously determined that Philip Morris negligently failed to warn David Mulholland before he turned 16 of the health hazards and addictiveness of its Marlboro cigarettes, and that this failure to warn was a cause of his lung cancer and subsequent death. The jury awarded $5.5 million in damages, representing compensation for Mr. Mulholland’s pain and suffering, as well as losses sustained by his wife and one of his adult children.1
According to the wrongful death lawsuit, Mr. Mulholland, born on Long Island in 1948, started smoking Marlboro cigarettes by the age of 13 years old. He rapidly became heavily addicted, and continued to smoke until he was diagnosed with lung cancer in late 2004 and became so sick and weak from his treatments that he was physically unable to smoke. The youth smoking allegations against Philip Morris were limited to the time period up until August 6, 1964, when Mr. Mulholland turned 16 years old, the time period during which Mr. Mulholland testified information about the health hazards of smoking would have helped him avoid his life-long addiction to nicotine in Marlboro cigarettes. The lawsuit alleged that during these years, in which Mr. Mulholland was less than 16 years old, Philip Morris knew of the health hazards and addictiveness of smoking, yet did not include any warnings on its cigarette packs or its widespread cigarette advertisements.
Mr. Mulholland’s lung cancer was ultimately fatal and he passed away on January 25, 2006, at the age of 57, after suffering for 15 months from the disease. Mr. Mulholland, a mechanic and auto body repair worker, is survived by his wife Florence Mulholland and his children, Kelly Mulholland, Megen Seiling, Michele Anthony and David Mulholland Jr., all residents of Long Island. Wrongful death lawyers Jerome Block and Amber Long of LK tried the case on the family’s behalf.
According to the family’s attorneys, Philip Morris unsuccessfully argued that the Mulhollands could not prove that David Mulholland’s lung cancer was caused by smoking, in light of his occupational exposure to asbestos from changing brakes and clutches. Philip Morris also argued to the jury that it had no duty to warn Mr. Mulholland of the health hazards and/or addictiveness of smoking because it had legitimate doubts prior to 1964 about whether smoking was a cause of lung cancer and that even if it gave a warning, it wouldn’t have made any difference to David Mulholland. The jury rejected these arguments in finding for Mr. Mulholland and his family.
The 1994 Surgeon General’s Report, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Young People2, recognized that addiction to nicotine in cigarettes frequently begins in adolescence and that youth smokers are more likely to become heavily addicted adult smokers. Mr. Block, who served as lead trial counsel, stated: “There are so many people like David Mulholland who tragically became addicted to cigarettes as children back in the 1950s and 1960s before the tobacco industry gave any warning about the dangers of cigarettes. We presented evidence showing that addiction to nicotine in cigarettes is a serious drug addiction. It was this life-long addiction that ultimately caused David Mulholland to die of lung cancer and leave behind his loving family.”
For more details about the trial and verdict, contact LK wrongful death lawyers Jerome Block at 212-605-6270 or Amber Long at 212-605-6249.
1 Florence Mulholland, on behalf of herself and as administratrix of the estate of David Mulholland, vs. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 05 Civ. 9908 (CS) (S.D.N.Y);