Runaway Judges Piss off Philip Morris
Turns out the bad guys at Philip Morris knowingly marketed "light" cigarettes as less dangerous than regular cigarettes, when they knew they were just as bad. So, the judge - not a jury - awarded $7 billion in economic damages and $3 billion in punitive damages. In fact, because big business has been so successful in convincing people that "runaway juries" are destroying the system, Philip Morris REQUESTED A JURY TRIAL, which was denied by the judge.
Let me state again: In a multibillion-dollar class action lawsuit, Philip Morris asked for a jury trial. You know, the same runaway juries that they always bitch about. Why? Because the bogus hype about runaway juries has worked. This shouldn't come as any surprise. After all, the Department of Justice issued a report years ago that shows judges award more money than jurors.
The court decision over at www.tobacco.org contains some great quotes from the judge. For example:
The Court recognizes that punitive damages are not favored in the law and this Court is careful not to award such damages improperly or unwisely. However, the course of conduct by Philip Morris related to its fraud in this case is outrageous, both because Philip Morris' motive was evil and the acts showed a reckless disregard for the consumers' rights. As a consequence, punitive damages are appropriate in this case.
Of course, Philip Morris is appealing the decision. The important thing about this case, for me anyway, is that it clearly shows that runaway juries aren't a problem. If the most hated industry in America would rather have their case tried by a jury than a judge, doesn't that show that their misinformation and propaganda has been working?