Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

[3] Stakes High in Tobacco Trials

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

[3] Stakes High in Tobacco Trials

Article excerpt

********** CORRECTION (7/25/96)

Because of a reporting error, the number of years

Grady Carter smoked Lucky Strike cigarettes was incorrect

on Page B-1 yesterday. His attorney said Carter smoked the

brand for 25 years, from 1947 until 1972.

**********

Attorneys who don't agree on much agree on this: Grady Carter

smoked Lucky Strike cigarettes for 19 years. But they have

different views about why.

Carter's lawyer told a jury yesterday that the Orange Park

retiree is a hopeless addict. He was deliberately hooked on

cigarettes by tobacco companies that hid the truth about their

deadly product.

An attorney for the American Tobacco Co. painted Carter, 66,

with a different brush. The retired air-traffic controller knew

cigarettes were dangerous but chose to puff anyway, even though

his family urged him to quit. When he was ready to stop, he did.

A two-week trial that began Monday pits attorneys and medical

experts in a familiar clash over the nature of cigarettes. Are

they fatally addictive, as tobacco foes claim? Or merely

habit-forming, as cigarette companies insist.

The questions will be argued repeatedly in Jacksonville. A

cigarette liability case is set for trial in Duval County each

month through the end of the year. More cases may go to trial in

1997.

Carter's case, the first in the expected series, has drawn

national attention and Court TV because so much is at stake.

Tobacco companies spend millions of dollars on their legal

defense, and they rarely lose a case. A win for Carter would be

big news that could affect other cigarette litigation, tobacco

company stocks and attitudes about smokers and smoking.

Circuit Judge Brian Davis' courtroom was jammed yesterday with

attorneys from other cigarette companies, financial analysts

from several states and Jacksonville lawyers who specialize in

product liability cases.

They scribbled detailed notes Monday and yesterday morning as

the attorneys probed more than 40 jurors for their views on

smoking, addiction, sympathy and personal responsibility. …

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