The "Farmers Insurance News-Alert" website is dedicated to providing the consumer and general public with detailed information concerning the Farmers Insurance Group. This includes fraud reports, consumer complaints, lawsuit's and other legal actions taken against this company. All information contained herein is for educational purposes only. Original sources, when known are sited.


B.A.T's Broughton Says Florida Verdict Not Start of Trend

London, June 12 (Bloomberg) -- Martin Broughton, chief executive of B.A.T Industries Plc, said he's confident a legal defeat in Florida this week was a ``rogue result'' and not the start of a trend for tougher courtroom treatment of tobacco companies.  

To get a rogue result from time to time is to be anticipated,'' Broughton said in an interview after a shareholders' meeting. ``I can't see why we can expect that verdict to be repeated.''     

B.A.T shares have fallen 6 percent to 567 pence in the two days following the jury's ruling against Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., B.A.T's U.S. unit. The decision to award about $1 million in damages to the family of a smoker who died of lung cancer was the first time punitive damages have been imposed against a tobacco company in such a case. The smoker's legal team made use of a cart-load of internal company documents that were recently made public in arguing that the company covered up its knowledge of the health hazards caused by smoking.  

Broughton said he could ``see how a jury can be taken in by rolling loads of documents into the courtroom'' but he maintained that there was no evidence that this alleged conspiracy was responsible for the victim's smoking.  

I don't think the document issue is going to cause us problems in the long run,'' Broughton said.  

Broughton was speaking after B.A.T shareholders approved a plan to split the company into two parts and sell its financial services units to Switzerland's Zurich Insurance Co. The tobacco business will be listed separately as British American Tobacco Plc in the fall and Broughton will be its chairman. 

11:58:06 06/12/1998


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