Sales-Implied Warranty-Merchantable Quality of Tobacco Products

Decedent’s widow and the administrator of his estate brought a consolidated suit against the American Tobacco Company on six theories of liability for the death of decedent, allegedly caused by lung cancer purportedly contracted from the smoking of defendant’s cigarettes. At the close of plaintiff’s evidence, the district court directed a verdict for defendant on all counts except those of implied warranty and negligence. The jury determined that, although defendant’s cigarettes were the cause of decedent’s lung cancer and resultant death, defendant had no means of knowing that the cigarettes would cause cancer. On appeal of the implied warranty charge to the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, held, affirmed, one judge dissenting. Defendant cannot be held liable for consequences which were not foreseeable through the use of ordinary human skill and foresight. Green v. American Tobacco Co., 304 F.2d 70 (5th Cir. 1962).