TOBACCO: Laymen's Verdict

The state with the strongest law holding a manufacturer responsible for the purity of its products is Louisiana. To San Francisco Lawyer Melvin ("The King of Torts") Belli, who has made a career out of damage suits, Louisiana seemed the ideal place to establish a legal precedent that tobacco companies can be held liable for death from lung cancer.*

Belli's plaintiff was Mrs. Victoria St. Pierre Lartique, who wept as the defense attorney described her late husband as "a human chimney"; she testified that he smoked so much that she had to get out of the house to breathe. From...

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