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Man Sues R.J. Reynolds for Wife's Death

EDWARDSVILLE, Mo. -- A widower whose wife died two years ago of lung cancer filed suit in Madison County Circuit Court on Thursday, claiming that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. failed to warn her that light cigarettes delivered more tar and nicotine than regular cigarettes, reported the Edwardsville Intelligencer.

The woman, Mary Ann Bradley, died July 9, 2002. The suit claims that her lung cancer was caused by smoking Doral Lights. According to the suit, Bradley smoked more than 40 cigarettes a day for more than 18 years. The suit was filed on behalf of Homer Bradley, and also named as defendants Martin & Bayley Inc., which does business as Huck's Convenience Store and sells Doral Lights; JBL Limited, which does business as Hit-N-Run and sells Marlboro Lights; and Park 'N Shop Supermarkets, Moto Inc., and Piasa Pantry, each of which sells Salem Lights.

The suit was filed by attorney Stephen Tillery, who last year won a $10 billion settlement in a class-action lawsuit in Madison County that garnered national attention. The trial, which began in January of 2003, ran for two months and ended with Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron awarding damages against Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro Lights and Cambridge Lights. At that trial, Tillery claimed that Philip Morris had known for 15 years that light cigarettes were actually more harmful to smokers than regular cigarettes.

In his judgment, Byron said that evidence presented by the plaintiffs indicated that Philip Morris knew all along that ventilating light cigarettes by placing air holes in the filters actually caused smokers to inhale more deeply and hold smoke in their lungs longer, exposing their lungs to more tar and nicotine than regular cigarettes.

In the suit filed on Thursday, Tillery claims R.J. Reynolds also violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act by engaging in "misrepresentations, unlawful schemes and courses of conduct that induced the Plaintiff to purchase Doral Lights cigarettes" by using unfair acts or practices. It also claims that R.J. Reynolds is liable to Homer Bradley for "loss of consortium, society, companionship, fellowship, and other valuable services of his wife."

Tillery did not specify how much in damages he is seeking.
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