The devastating effects of tobacco use were known by tobacco manufacturers decades before the public fully understood them. Cigarette smoking is well known as a major cause of, or contributor to, the development of lung cancer. Many individuals who have been diagnosed with lung cancer related to cigarette smoking don’t think they can win a tobacco lawsuit in Massachusetts, but that is not necessarily true: Shepard O’Donnell recently won a $43.1 million verdict against tobacco manufacturer R.J. Reynolds and there have been numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements across Massachusetts over the years.

Can I Sue a Cigarette Manufacturer in Massachusetts?

There is a 3 year statute of limitations to bring personal injury lawsuits in Massachusetts, including suits for tobacco-related injuries. If you were diagnosed with lung cancer more than 3 years ago, we are not able to help. Be aware, however, that even if your diagnosis is less than three years old, there still may not be sufficient time to get a case in the courts. We encourage you to contact us as soon as possible to see if you have a viable case.

Do you have lung cancer from smoking and live, or have lived, in Massachusetts for a significant portion of your smoking history? If so, contact us for a free case evaluation.

Free Case Evaluation


Our dedicated legal team has been instrumental in advocating for families affected by tobacco-related harm. Our recent case results stand as a testament to our unwavering commitment to obtaining justice for our clients. With extensive experience in navigating complex tobacco litigation, we have successfully secured compensation and recognition for families impacted by the tobacco industry’s negligence. Explore our impressive case outcomes and learn how Shepard O’Donnell stands by families, fighting for the justice they rightfully deserve.

Shepard O’Donnell was part of a trial team that won a groundbreaking achievement by obtaining a $43.1 million verdict in a case involving cigarette smoking and asbestos exposure. The plaintiff was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015. He had been a heavy cigarette smoker, having started smoking menthol cigarettes as a teenager in the 1950s. He had also worked for many years as an automobile brake mechanic, at one point doing 3-4 brake jobs a day, six days a week. He passed away 7 months after his diagnosis in 2015. Before he died, he gave videotaped trial testimony that was shown to the jury during trial.

The trial team presented evidence to the jury over five weeks showing our client’s addiction to menthol cigarettes, and his exposure to asbestos dust from grinding brake linings. Neither the cigarettes nor the asbestos brake linings came with a warning about their health hazards. By the time the warnings came, it was too late, the jury heard. Our client was already addicted to menthol cigarettes, and could not quit despite multiple attempts with different smoking cessation aids.

The jury heard evidence about what the tobacco companies knew about cigarette smoking by the 1950s, and were shown internal company documents that showed that the amount of nicotine was precisely calculated and manipulated to initiate and sustain addiction in smokers. Our team put into evidence documents showing that tobacco companies knew that adding menthol to cigarettes made it more likely for teenagers to start smoking, made it easier to addict smokers, and made it harder for smokers to quit.

The evidence took over a month to put on. After four days of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the Summerlin family in the amount of $43.1 million dollars. It was the largest jury verdict in New England for 2018 and one of the top verdicts in the United States.