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TOBACCO COMPANY WINS LOW-TAR CASE PHILADELPHIA — A tobacco company is not liable for the death of a man who contracted fatal lung cancer even though he smoked the company’s low-tar cigarette brand, a 12-person Philadelphia jury decided unanimously Friday. In the case, Eiser v. Brown & Williamson, et al., a jury in Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas handed down a verdict for the defendants, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. and its parent company, British American Tobacco (Investments) Ltd., in the wrongful-death suit. William Eiser died of lung cancer in December 1999 at the age of 54. He had owned a delicatessen in South Philadelphia. Eiser had smoked Carlton cigarettes for 28 years, switching to the brand because he was aware of the health risks of smoking cigarettes and saw advertisements labeling Carltons as low in tar. Carltons were originally produced by the American Tobacco Co., which merged with B&W in 1995, and are currently produced by B&W. Eiser, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1998, filed suit against B&W, British American Tobacco and several tobacco industry associations in March 1999. He was deposed by video before his death. His action was carried forward by his wife, Lois Eiser, who administers his estate. The trial concluded Aug. 12. Only two parties, B&W and British American Tobacco, remained as defendants when the sides rested. “In order to prove their case, they had to show fraud on the part of B&W based on its advertising of Carltons,” said Bruce Sheffler, partner at Chadbourne & Parke in New York, who represented B&W in the case. “But the advertisement that Carltons were ‘lowest in tar’ was truthful.” — The Legal Intelligencer

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