Lowe – The First Case

Ira Charles Lowe v R.J. Reynolds et al

Filed March 10, 1954

USDC Eastern Judicial District of Missouri, Eastern Division
Dismissed

In March of 1954, St. Louis factory worker Ira C. Lowe filed the first product liability action brought against a tobacco company. Injury alleged: Lung Cancer. The case was discontinued in 1957 without ever being heard by a jury.

Plaintiff Attorneys: Hullverson & Richardson (St. Louis) Orville Richardson, Donald Siegel
Defendant Attorneys: Richmond C. Coburn RJR

Timeline

  • 1954 – March 10: Complaint filed
  • 1954 – October 1: Plaintiff deposition
  • 1954 – June 16: Discontinued
  • 1954 – June 17: Reinstituted v. RJR only in Circuit Court, City of St. Louis, MO, . General damages $250,000, punitive $250,000-total $500,000 .
  • 1954 – October 2: Action abated on death of plaintiff .
  • 1955 – June 24: Reinstituted by relative in USDC, Eastern District MO, . General and total damages $15,000.
  • 1957 – June 14: Discontinued without prejudice .

A case dismissed without prejudice means that the plaintiff can try again.

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