When you leave this courtroom and begin your deliberations, there are
two values that I encourage you to consider. The first one of these is personal
responsibility. So when you think about Mr. Maddox, who chose to
smoke for 48 years and who chose to ignore the warnings on those
packages for close to 30 years, ask yourself, is his smoking the
responsibility of anybody else?
The second value I'd like you to think about is justice. That's
an enormous value that we as individuals and as a nation place on justice,
and the reason we do, but especially the reason you are here in this
courtroom for over a month, is because we place such a high value on
I hope you'll ask yourself whether it isn't wrong to be using our justice
system to try to get rich.
Mr. Maddox was well aware of the health risks of smoking. He
knew the risks. He was a smoker by choice.
We know from Mrs. W's testimony that since 1966 when warnings
first appeared on cigarette packages, Mr. Maddox smoked two
packs a day for about 28 years for about 20,000 packs of cigarettes.
Yet, the plaintiffs must prove to you that Mr. Maddox was not warned
of the dangers of smoking. They ask you to believe that he
never once noticed or read the warnings that have appeared on every
package of cigarettes sold in the United States since 1966.
Indeed, I ask you to use your common sense and ask yourself how likely
it is that anyone in this country could have smoked for almost 50
years and not have known that there are health risks associated with smoking.
Dr. Horn was the director of the U.S. government's national clearing house
for smoking and health, the organization that writes the Surgeon
General's reports. He stated you could stand on a rooftop and shout smoking
is dangerous at the top of your lungs, and you would not be telling
anyone anything they did not already know.
You have heard experts such as John Heller, the director of the
National Cancer Institute and Leroy Burney, the Surgeon General confirmed
that Americans have long been well aware of the risks associated with smoking.
Surgeon General Burney: "We have informed the public
through the excellent coverage of the press, radio, and TV."
His co-workers also testified that he was well aware of the risks.
Eight witnesses all testified that Mr. Maddox had seen and read the warnings
on cigarette packs, that he referred to cigarettes as
"coffin nails" and "cancer sticks," that he had told
them he knew smoking was bad for him. He knew the risks.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the plaintiff's entire case. The Devil
made me do it. The Plaintiff's attorney has spent four weeks trying to
persuade you that my client is the Devil and that the Devil alone is responsible
for Mr. Maddox's smoking two packs of cigarettes a day for
almost 50 years.
The plaintiffs know you aren't going to believe that he (Mr. Maddox)
wasn't aware that smoking was risky. So their fallback explanation
for why he smoked for 48 years is that he was addicted.
Mr. Maddox smoked for 48 years, and now his family wants
to blame someone else for that choice. But the truth is the responsibility
for Mr. Maddox's smoking lies squarely with Mr. Maddox. And for
that reason I ask that you return a verdict against the plaintiff.
there's an enormous hole in the center of the plaintiffs' case, and
that hole is the fact that Mr. Maddox chose to smoke for 48
Mr. Maddox smoked for almost 50 years because he wanted to
Mr. Maddox was familiar with the warnings and familiar with the
health risks of smoking, and he chose to keep smoking anyhow.
I am sure most of you have known people who have smoked for all
of their adult lives, and I want you to ask yourselves whether you believe
that if the Yeaman letter (smoking is addictive) had been made public when
it was written, any of those people would have stopped smoking.
This is the great flaw in plaintiffs' argument.
According to every other person in the room, he was well aware of the risks
of smoking and chose to smoke anyhow.
Either way, there is not one shred of evidence to suggest that had
every single document in this basket that Plaintiff's attorney has shown
you been made public the moment it was written, there is not one shred of
evidence to suggest that Mr. Maddox would have smoked one less cigarette.
Every single cigarette advertisement since 1972 has included a warning
from the Surgeon General.
Whether or not you think smoking should be labeled an addiction, I'm
sure you know that people who want to stop smoking can and do stop. Fifty
million Americans have stopped smoking cigarettes. Some find it more
difficult to stop than others. But the fact is, people do it every day.
As I said in my opening remarks to you, addiction is a word that
is used pretty broadly these days. It no longer means behavior that
people are powerless to change. Passions such as routing
for a sports team are now called addictions, and so are bad
habits. I won't quibble with the plaintiff's assertions that Mr.
Maddox was addicted to cigarettes in this sense of the word.
But in this sense of the word, addiction is not a lifetime condition.
I'm not going to try to convince you that smoking cigarettes for
almost 50 years may not have been the cause of Mr. Maddox's lung cancer.
Of course, it may have been. The possibility of contracting lung cancer
is a risk that goes with smoking, as I'm sure every one of you knew
before this trial began. Roland Maddox chose to smoke for 48 years.
Yet the plaintiffs in this case want you to believe that he bears no responsibility
for doing so.
The plaintiffs don't believe in personal responsibility,
and they don't believe in justice either. Even if you disapprove of smoking,
I urge you not to side with the plaintiffs in this case.
Even if you disapprove of the tobacco companies, I urge you not
to side with the plaintiffs. This trial isn't a popularity contest.
This trial is about the preposterous claims made by the plaintiffs.
Whatever you think of smoking and whatever your opinion of tobacco
companies, I hope it will not prevent you from saying to the
plaintiffs in this case, personal responsibility does matter; that
it's wrong for Mrs. Maddox to try to get money from my client for a choice
that was entirely Mr. Maddox's.
I know that some of you may feel that he made the wrong decision, the
wrong choice. But it was his choice and his choice
alone. The devil didn't make him do it.
like virtually everyone else in America, Mr. Maddox knew there were
risks associated with smoking, and he chose to smoke anyhow.
Mr. Maddox liked to smoke. Warnings didn't stop him after 1969, and they
wouldn't have stopped him before 1969 either.
Now, one of the instructions he's going to give you includes this
statement: A manufacturer is not liable for failing to warn of a product's
risks if those risks are generally known to the ordinary consumer
who purchases the product with the ordinary knowledge common to the
community as to its characteristics. That's what the law is. Now,
that's why surfboards, for example, don't carry a warning about the risks
When Judge Mitchell instructs you on question two, he'll tell you that
for the cigarettes to be considered defective, the law requires
proof first that the Tobacco Company could have produced a safer cigarette
and, second, that the safer cigarette would have been
Mr. Maddox smoked because he enjoyed doing so