Big Tobacco Beats Hospital Lawsuit

Landmark Missouri suit fails
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2011 7:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – It was a "case of David versus Goliath," as hospitals took on tobacco companies in Missouri, a hospital lawyer says—and Goliath won. A jury decided yesterday that tobacco companies aren't liable for money spent on patients with tobacco-related illnesses who can't pay their bills, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The $455 million lawsuit, filed on behalf of dozens of hospitals who treat many destitute, non-paying patients, had taken 13 years to come to trial.

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The hospitals argued that cigarette makers had delivered an "unreasonably dangerous" product that left hospitals stuck with the cost of treating uninsured patients with smoking-related illnesses. "The jury here found that ordinary cigarettes are not defective and not negligently manufactured, and that's what this case was all about," a lawyer for Philip Morris says. Some 160 similar cases nationwide never made it as far as trial. (Read more smoking stories.)

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