Big tobacco stands trial in Bethel court

first_img(Credit Ron Cruz / Flickr Creative Commons)Big tobacco is standing trial in Bethel’s court.Listen Now Dolores Hunter of Marshall and her two children are suing the cigarette and tobacco company Philip Morris USA and its parent company, Altria Group, for product liability, fraud, and the wrongful death of their family member, Delores’ common law husband, Benjamin Francis, of Pilot Station. Francis died in 2004 of lung cancer after a long history of cigarette smoking.The civil jury trial began Wednesday at the Bethel courthouse and is expected to stretch over the coming month.Don Bauermeister with the firm Friedman and Rubin from Washington is representing the plaintiff. Bauermeister is arguing that Francis died from lung cancer caused by a tobacco industry conspiracy Philip Morris participated in to mislead the American public on the harmful effects of cigarettes.Stan Davis, of his own firm in Kansas, is representing the defense and arguing Francis knew the harmful effects of smoking and chose to continue the behavior under personal responsibility.This is the second time this case has gone to trial.  The initial trial occurred in 2011. Judge Eric Smith, who is hearing the case in Bethel, ordered a retrial after the case went to the Alaska Supreme Court last year.last_img

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