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Acton v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

(Personal Injury AL Cir. Ct. 1997)

This individual personal injury suit was brought by Jimmy C. Acton against R.J. Reynolds. The plaintiff alleged that his lung cancer was caused by his exposure to second hand smoke while married to his wife. Mr. Acton smoked a quarter of a pack a day for 40 years, quitting several years before he was diagnosed with small cell undifferentiated carcinoma in 1995. His wife was unable to quit with him because she was addicted to the nicotine. Prior to that date he had been diagnosed with hypertension in 1979 and skin cancer in 1992. He also had a history of lung problems, including pneumonia. Four years after Mr. Acton's diagnosis of lung cancer, he was declared cancer free.The defendant argued that Mr. Acton did not have a type of lung cancer caused by cigarettes. He did not have small cell undifferentiated carcinoma, but had a neuroendocrine carcinoid tumor. It also argued that Mr. Acton's exposure to other risk factors made it impossible to say his condition was caused by exposure to cigarette smoke.The case was heard in the Circuit Court for Sumpter County, Alabama (Civil Action No. CV-96-98). Depositions were taken, but as of December, 1999, the case was inactive prior to going to trial.