Jury Deliberates $147-Million Snuff Case
Jurors began deliberating Thursday in the $147-million suit that alleges U.S. Tobacco Co. is responsible for the cancer death of a 19-year-old athlete who used the company’s Copenhagen snuff.
Jurors heard four hours of closing arguments before U.S. District Judge David Russell told the panel to begin its deliberations, as the trial neared the end of its fifth week.
Attorneys from both sides told jurors that their first responsibility would be to decide if Copenhagen snuff, which Sean Marsee used for six years, was a cause of the tongue cancer that killed him in 1984.
Asked to Determine Cause
U.S. Tobacco attorney Alston Jennings told jurors if they decided it had not been proven that snuff was a cause of Marsee’s cancer, the case should then end.
But if Copenhagen is at least in part to blame, said attorney Dania Braly, jurors should consider awarding $147 million to Marsee’s mother, Betty Ann Marsee.
“It is an enormous amount,” Braly said. “What they did to Sean Marsee was an enormous evil.”
Marsee testified that her son believed snuff was safe because it carried no warning label and because athletes, such as former Dallas Cowboy running back Walt Garrison, advertised the product.