Tobacco company found liable for $71 million

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In a groundbreaking decision, a Suffolk Superior Court jury yesterday found a tobacco company liable for the death of a Roxbury woman who said that, at age 9, she received free samples of Newport cigarettes in a targeted marketing campaign.

The jury awarded a judgment of $50 million to the estate of Marie Evans, who, before she died of lung cancer in 2002, testified that she first received free Newports as a child, while living in the Orchard Park housing development in Boston. She smoked until her death at age 54.

Her only son was awarded $21 million.

Lorillard, which denied it targeted youth with free cigarettes, plans to appeal.

Legal specialists describe the verdict as the first time a jury has found a cigarette maker liable for marketing its product by handing out free samples.

Full story: Suffolk jury awards $71m in woman’s tobacco suit