Racial slur causes mistrial in Florida tobacco case.

December 8, 2008 - A Broward County, Florida judge declared a mistrial in the case of a Cooper City widow suing cigarette maker Philip Morris over the death of her chain-smoking husband after an expert witness used a racial slur.

Robert Proctor, the expert witness, triggered the mistrial when he explained that research about racism within the tobacco industry cannot be done without using the N-word. The judge felt that the context the jury heard it within was prejudicial...that the jury was hearing about racism by the tobacco industry.

Philip Morris lawyer Kenneth Reilly objected and asked Circuit Judge Jeffrey Streitfeld to declare a mistrial.

This is the first of about 8,000 tobacco cases in Florida.

Reference: Racial slur causes mistrial in Broward County tobacco case by PATRICK DANNER pdanner@MiamiHerald.com, Miami Herald, 12/4/2008.