Longtime smokers who are not suffering from any serious diseases can’t require Philip Morris to pay for preventative medical scans, the state Court of Appeals ruled today.
The Court of Appeals ruled 4-2 in favor of Philip Morris instead of three female smokers, who were older than age 50. The court argued that the plaintiffs had no right to seek damages from the tobacco giant if they don’t have ailments, such as lung cancer.
“Allowance of such a claim, absent any evidence of present physical injury or damage to property, would constitute a significant deviation from our tort jurisprudence,” the court ruled.
The case ended up in New York after the federal courts asked New York for an opinion on whether state law applies to the case. The plaintiffs sought a court-supervised program, at Philip Morris’s expense, that would provide them with chest scans to help in the early detection of lung cancer.
Chief Judge Jonanthan Lippman sided with the plaintiffs in his dissenting opinion, saying that if there are opportunities to save lives, the court should agree to do so.
“In the face of such circumstances, the majority resolutely stands frozen in time as it denies plaintiffs the opportunity to take advantage of life-saving technology. This result is indefensible when equitable relief is well within the province of this Court,” Lippman wrote.
Here’s the ruling: