SEOUL, Korea, April 11 (Korea Bizwire) – The Supreme Court said on April 10 that there is not enough evidence to prove the causal link between smoking and lung cancer for the plaintiffs and ruled in favor of the defendant Korea Tobacco & Ginseng Corp.
The Supreme Court justices remarked, “Even though there is indeed an epidemiological cause-and-effect relationship, it is difficult to accept the causal link between smoking by particular individuals and non-small cell lung cancer.”
With this, the 15-year legal battle waged by cancer patients and their families against Korea’s tobacco monopoly has ended.
The Seoul District Court in January 2007 said there was no evidence that cancer was directly caused by smoking cigarettes. The Seoul High Court acknowledged in February 2011 that there was a cause-and-effect relationship between smoking and lung cancer in four patients. Still, the Supreme Court judges did not overturn the ruling handed out in the lower court, saying there was no proof that KT&G gave false information about their cigarettes.
Up until now, a total of four tobacco-related lawsuits have been filed in Korea, of which none of the plaintiffs have won their cases, including one pending in an appeals court. But a litigation being prepared by the National Health Insurance Service is expected to be different, as this is the first case filed by a public organization.
The health insurance corporation plans to ask for astronomical sums for compensation and punitive damages for the medical expenses related to cigarette smoking and other tobacco use it has paid for several decades. It is not clear as of yet the latest verdict would have any impact on the upcoming litigation.
Written by Sean Chung (firstname.lastname@example.org)