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Philip Morris USA v. Williams. Brief facts - Case Study Example

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The facts of this case are that Williams who was the widow of a man who was a chain smoker for last four decades, smoking three packs of cigarettes daily and eventually died due to lung cancer in the year 1997 at a age of 55 years, she brought a suit against the tobacco major Philips Morris for misling her husband in particular and thousands like him in general to smoke their brand of cigarettes through attractive sales and marketing campaigns…
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Philip Morris USA v. Williams. Brief facts
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Download file to see previous pages At initial trial the jury awarded her $821,485.50 as compensatory damages and $79.5 million as punitive damages in the case. However, the trial court on an appeal reduced the amounts to $521,485.50 and $32 million respectively. On an reverse appeal the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed the trial courts decision and upheld the earlier amount awarded by the jury as compensation. The Supreme Court of United States granted certiorari in the case, vacated the Court of Appeals judgment and sent back the case to the same court of appeal to reconsider the amount of punitive damages awarded in the case. In particular Supreme Court referring to the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment declined to grant punitive damages to individuals who were not part of litigation. In a third appeal before the Supreme Court by Philips Morris the court remanded the case back for re-trial.
The basic issues before the jury, trial court, court of appeal and the supreme court were varied. The Court had to decide that if compensatory and punitive damages are made out in the case and if they are maintainable and to be awarded then to what extent.
Ans. The basic jurisdiction in this lied till the Court of Appeal in the state of Oregon. ...
Ans. The case had been in the litigation process for ten years.
3. What is jurisdiction in relation to this case
Ans. The basic jurisdiction in this lied till the Court of Appeal in the state of Oregon. The deceased and the plaintiff belonged to that state. After that on further appeal and review petitions the case was tried by the Supreme Court of United States.
4. What is the relationship between the court system, litigation process, and jurisdiction
Ans. There is a threefold relationship between the court system, litigation process and jurisdiction. If we take the example of the present case then we see that the deceased and the Plaintiff(his wife) lived in the State of Oregon, so the jurisdiction of the district court lied in there case. Jurisdiction is of three types. Personal, Territorial and Subject matter. In this case the territorial jurisdiction was made out. The Court system is divided according to the jurisdiction of a State. First it's the trial Court of the State, then the Court of Appeal and further it can also be Supreme Court. The litigation process is said to be started from the trial Court and can go up to Supreme Court till the final decision has not been arrived at.

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