Tillery files suit against PM, then asks for dismissal

Steve Gonzalez Jun. 1, 2005, 5:23am

Stephen Tillery

On the same day Jack Latempt of Roxana filed suit against Philip Morris USA seeking damages for losing his wife's valuable services--he filed a motion for voluntary dismissal on May 27 in Madison County Circuit Court.

Latempt's wife, Debra, was diagnosed with lung cancer two years ago. She filed a lawsuit against Huck's convenience stores on Feb. 8 in Madison County claiming she would not have chosen "light" cigarettes had Huck's been truthful in its advertising.

“(Jack) Latempt has suffered the loss of the consortium, society, companionship, fellowship and other valuable services of his wife, and believes he is entitled to actual damages against Philip Morris by reason of said loss,” his complaint stated.

The newer case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning Jack LaTempt can re-file within one year. Associate Judge Ralph Mendelsohn granted the dismissal.

Latempt's attorneys, Stephen Tillery and Donald Flack of Korein Tillery of St. Louis, were seeking a sum “reasonable and equitable” plus all costs of the suit and attorney fees.

Debra Latempt was a 30-cigarette-a-day smoker for 28 years. Her pending suit blames Huck's for placing cigarettes into the stream of commerce, and alleges the retailer "engaged in misrepresentations, unlawful schemes and conduct that induced her to purchase cigarettes through unfair and deceptive acts."

In his suit, Jack Latempt claimed Debra received higher levels of tar and nicotine from her Marlboro Lights than Philip Morris represented and that the smoke was also more mutagenic than regular cigarettes.

"Each milligram of tar from Marlboro Lights cigarettes actually increases the mutagenicity (genetic and chromosomal damage) of the tar delivered to the consumer and increases the levels of most of the harmful toxins delivered to the consumer," Latempt alleged in the suit.

Latempt claimed his wife would not have purchased Marlboro Lights if he was aware of Philip Morris' alleged deceptive practices.

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