In reviewing the propriety of a punitive damage verdict under Campbell and Gore, the Oregon Supreme Court rejected Philip Morris’ argument that there was no evidence that its fraud caused injury to other residents of the State of Oregon. “In essence, Philip Morris is claiming that one cannot reasonably infer that anyone was actually fooled by its 40-year advertising campaign directed to thousands of Oregonians. Yet even the simplest assessment of human nature, viewed in light of the designedly addictive properties of cigarettes, tells any reasonable person that those lies would have been very persuasive. We think that such an appreciation of human nature fairly may be attributed to jurors, including the ones who heard this case. Moreover, Philip Morris’s own conduct belies its protestations. As a for-profit corporation, it would not spend over 40 years of time, effort, and money to deceive people, unless it thought it was succeeding.” Williams v. Philip Morris, 127 P.3d 1165, 1170 n.1 (Ore. 2006).
[See also: Williams v. Philip Morris, 48 P.3d 824, 830-831 (Oregon App. 2002) (finding sufficient proof of “reliance” or causation as to Williams individually) (review denied, 61 P.3d 938 (Ore. 2002), vacated, on other grounds, 540 U.S. 801 (2003)).]
[Note – The U.S. Supreme Court recently granted certiorari to review the 2006 Oregon Supreme Court decision. No. 05-1256, 126 S.Ct. 2329 (2006).]