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Steven J. Klearman
Steven J. Klearman
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$5 Million Settlement in Chewing Tobacco Case

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The Associated Press reports that U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. has settled a wrongful death lawsuit by agreeing to pay $5 million to the family of a 42-year-old man who died from tongue cancer after chewing spit tobacco since he was 13.

According to the article, this settlement is a first of its kind among suits against smokeless tobacco companies. Mark Gottlieb, Director of Tobacco Products Liability Project at Northeastern School of Law, was quoted as calling this settlement "a wakeup call to the plaintiff’s bar that there are a lot of victims of smokeless tobacco use out there and it’s possible these cases can be successful."

Attorney Antonio Ponvert III noted that "the settlement came as the tobacco industry tries to weaken proposed tougher warning labels on tobacco products and is marketing spit tobacco as a less harmless alternative to cigarettes."