Robert W. Johnson & Associates were retained to testify regarding punitive damages and Philip Morris USA’s financial health, wealth and economic status.
Location: Los Angeles, California
Case: Richard Boeken vs. Philip Morris Incorporated
Court: Los Angeles, California Superior Court, No. BC 226593
Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Michael J. Piuze, Los Angeles, California
Case Synopsis: Richard Boeken, currently 56 years old, started smoking Marlboro cigarettes when he was 13. In 1999 he was diagnosed with lung cancer and the disease has since spread to his brain. Mr. Boeken was also a former heroin addict and alcoholic. He was able to break the addiction of both heroin and alcohol. But he was unable to break the addiction to cigarettes. Mr. Boeken claimed that Philip Morris misled him regarding the dangers of smoking and also created an unsafe product. Mr. Johnson was asked to testify in the punitive damages part of the case. His task was to present a full picture of Philip Morris USA’s financial condition.
Expert Consultation: Mr. Johnson, reviewed Philip Morris’ financial documents, that are on file with the SEC, to determine Philip Morris’ financial health, wealth and economic status. Mr. Johnson created charts that reflected Philip Morris’ true financial health and ability to pay punitive damages. Mr. Johnson also helped the jury understand the size of a $1 billion award.
Results: The jury awarded $5 million in compensatory damages and $3 billion in punitive damages.
Attorney Comments: “Robert Johnson’s analysis of Philip Morris’ U.S.A. financial condition was a key to helping the jury understand exactly how wealthy Philip Morris U.S.A. is. Philip Morris U.S.A. is not a publicly traded company, but is a subsidiary of Philip Morris Inc., who is not a defendant. Mr. Johnson's interpretation of their financial statements provided the evidence required for punitive damages.