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Cigarette Makers Win Flight Attendant Case in Florida

A Miami jury found cigarette manufacturers were not liable in the case of a flight attendant seeking compensation for a form of chronic sinusitis she claimed was caused by exposure to secondhand smoke on airplanes, according to a release by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. The suit was filed by Lorraine Swaty, a flight attendant for US Airways.

"After hearing all the facts in this case, the six-member jury unanimously agreed that exposure to secondhand smoke in airplanes did not cause Ms. Swaty's condition," said Anthony Upshaw of the Miami office of Adorno & Yoss LLP, who represented R.J. Reynolds and Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.

Swaty is the eighth flight attendant case to go to trial since 2001. Juries have ruled in favor of the tobacco industry in six of those cases and against the industry in one case. Another case ended in a mistrial in May 2002 and was subsequently dismissed.

The Swaty case is among approximately 2,800 suits filed by individuals seeking compensatory damages for injuries allegedly caused by occupational exposure to secondhand smoke as a flight attendant. These suits stem from the Broin class-action suit, which was settled in 1997.

Other defendants in the case included Philip Morris USA Inc. and Lorillard Tobacco Co.
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