Burl Butler

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Burl Butler was the plaintiff in a landmark wrongful death secondhand smoke trial. Mr. Butler was a non-smoking Mississippi barber who was diagnosed with a fatal lung cancer in 1993. Mr. Butler was a nonsmokers. The day he was diagnosed, he imposed a non-smoking policy in his barbershop. Mr. Butler (and his estate after he died) alleged that his lung cancer was caused by his prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke in his barbershop. Before his death in May, 1994, at age 60, Mr. Butler claimed that if he had been informed by tobacco companies that their products could kill non-smokers, he would not have permitted smoking in his barbershop.[1]

Since this was a secondhand smoke case, all of the major tobacco companies were defendants. The case resolved in 1999 when the verdict returned was for the tobacco companies. A 12 person jury in Ellisville, Mississippi voted 11-1 in favor of the tobacco companies.[2]

Mr. Butler's estate sought $650 in damages from the tobacco companies.[3]

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Related documents


  1. Brown & Williamson B&W Newsclips 2 pp. January 13 (year not stated) Bates No. 900025990/5991
  2. ProductLiabilityLawyer.com, Tobacco Lawyer, Newsroom Tobacco Companies get Smoked on Verdicts Undated. Accessed january 16, 2009
  3. New York Times No Liability Is Found in Secondhand-Smoke Case June 3, 1999. Accessed January 16, 2009

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