Daily Archives: December 16, 2010

Cigarette Maker Found Liable For $81M More

Published December 16, 2010

Marie Evans, 10, in 1958

Marie Evans, 10, in 1958

Two days after a Boston jury found a cigarette maker liable for $71 million in a suit alleging the company targeted black children in Roxbury decades ago, the jury today tacked on $81 million more in punitive damages to a deceased woman’s estate.

In the suit, Marie Evans — who died in 2002 of lung cancer — said Lorillard, Inc., which makes Newport cigarettes, got her and other children in the neighborhood addicted in the 1950s and ’60s by handing out free cigarette samples.

Tuesday’s ruling doled out the compensatory award to Evans and her son, Will Evans. Today’s award goes to Marie Evans’ estate.

“I think what was different in this case is that Lorillard tobacco company set out to get children addicted, and that’s what it did, and that’s what cost Marie Evans her life,” said Michael Weisman, the lead attorney for the plaintiff, to WBUR.

The Globe reports:

It is believed to be the largest award for compensatory damages in a wrongful death suit against a tobacco company in the country.

The case could have implications in Washington, D.C., where federal officials are considering a ban on menthol cigarettes.

Lorillard has said it plans to appeal the verdict.


Micky Ward, The ‘Fighter,’ Donates His Well-Boxed Brain

Published December 16, 2010

BU Today reports Micky Ward — the former pugilist from Lowell depicted in “The Fighter” biopic — has pledged his brain and spinal column after death to a university center that studies long-term brain trauma among athletes.

Ward makes the donation to BU’s Center for the Study of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. The boxer is also participating in a long-term study while alive.

According to the center’s website, CTE is a degenerative brain disease found in people — mostly athletes, and most often, boxers — who’ve suffered multiple concussions. Some refer to CTE as dementia pugilistica, or “punch drunk syndrome.”

“They say that when you get dazed, that’s a minor concussion,” Ward told BU Today. “I used to get those all the time.”

If you watched Ward fight, it’s not surprising. Here’s how SI’s Franz Lidz opened his piece on the 2003 final match of the fan favorite — and famously brutal — Ward-Arturo Gatti trilogy:

Like some relic from the era of bare-knuckle brawling, the bout between Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward last Saturday night in Atlantic City was breathtaking in its brutality: two iron-faced pugs with iron wills, trying to beat each other’s brains out.

With Ward joining hundreds of other former athletes in pledging to donate, the BU center says it can “determine specific risk factors for CTE and potentially develop effective treatments.”

It’s not Ward’s first foray into the cause. In April, he appeared at the State House to push for a bill to raise awareness of head injuries to young athletes. And while it’s hard to imagine Ward fighting differently, he told BU that knowing what he knows now, “he would not have allowed as much head contact when he sparred” and encourages fighters to be more assertive in seeking medical attention.

Earlier CSTE Coverage:

Today In History: The Original Boston Tea Party

Published December 16, 2010

Lithograph by Sarony & Major, 1846

Lithograph by Sarony & Major, 1846

On Dec. 16, 1773, Massachusetts revolted. Colonists disguised as Native Americans and steeped in British resentment destroyed three shiploads of tea by tossing it into Boston Harbor. From the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum:

To fully understand the resentment of the colonies to Great Britain and King George III, one must understand that this was not the first time that the colonists were treated unfairly. In previous years, the 13 colonies saw a number of commercial tariffs including the Sugar Act of 1764, which taxed sugar, coffee, and wine, the Stamp Act of 1765, which put a tax on all printed matter, such as newspapers and playing cards, and the Townshend Acts of 1767 which placed taxes on items like glass, paints, paper, and tea. The Tea Act of 1773 was the last straw.

On Jan. 19, 2010, Massachusetts revolted again — sending Republican Sen. Scott Brown to Washington and catapulting the libertarian Tea Party movement into the national spotlight.

Unfortunately for the museum, they field confused phone calls about the modern-day Tea Party. NPR’s Linton Weeks, quoting museum spokesman Shawn Ford:

Today’s Tea Party, Ford says, “has nothing to do with us. When I do get calls about the Tea Party movement, it is a simple misunderstanding.”

“The similarities are illuminating,” Fox News reports today. But the two Tea Parties are not the same.

“The current movement deals with big government and excess taxes, much like the colonials did, but … the colonials truly had no representation in the legislature that was instituting their taxes,” high-school history teacher Kathy Laughlin told NPR. “The present movement’s goal is to unseat incumbents and elect ultra-conservative members to congress.”

More from NPR:

Thursday Morning: Jobless Rate Edges Higher, Schools Cut

Published December 16, 2010

Things have been a bit quieter around these parts as I’m involved with other projects. Meanwhile, we are in the process of adding more voices and more news to Hubbub in the coming weeks. Stay tuned. –AP


What’s news on (another) bitterly cold Thursday in Boston:

Just in: The Mass. unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent last month. The national jobless rate is 9.8 percent.

The Boston School Committee unanimously approved the closing or merger of 18 schools. It was an ugly meeting, with booing, heckling and tears. (Globe)

The Probation Dept. investigation has shifted to the Legislature. A federal grand jury subpoenaed State House records. (Globe)

Mass. Dems stand firm in opposition to President Obama’s tax-cut compromise. “There’s a difference between compromise and surrender,” said U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch. (Herald)

Accused Harvard fraudster Adam Wheeler may plead guilty. He is scheduled for a change-of-plea hearing today. (AP)

The Celtics edged out the Knicks last night with 0.4 seconds to spare. The 4th Quarter was something to behold. (AP)