SMOKELESS TOBACCO LITIGATION
The family of Hall of Fame baseball player, Tony Gwynn, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit
against smokeless tobacco giant, Altria Group (formerly known as Philip Morris), as well as others,
alleging the use of smokeless tobacco throughout Gwynn’s professional baseball career, and after,
was the cause of his death. Tony Gwynn died in 2014 from salivary gland cancer, allegedly caused
by years of smokeless tobacco use.
The lawsuit, filed in the Superior Court in San Diego, alleges that Tony Gwynn was
manipulated into an addiction to smokeless tobacco that eventually caused his demise. Mr. Gwynn
allegedly used up to two cans of “dip” (smokeless tobacco), per day, for approximately thirty-one
(31) years. The initial product was supplied free of charge, while Tony Gwynn was in college,
spending hours on the baseball field while perfecting his craft as one of the games best hitters.
The theory(s) of liability include causes of action for negligence, fraud, and product liability.
The complaint further alleges that the tobacco industry made a determined effort, while Mr. Gwynn
was a college baseball player, to provide athletes with its product, despite the tobacco industries’
knowledge that “dip” was a highly carcinogenic product with addictive tendencies.
Tony Gwynn’s death from cancer has resulted in many other athletes, and smokeless tobacco
users, attempting to quit the addictive habit, as well as leading to the passage of bills in several cities
banning the use of smokeless tobacco at baseball parks, including the use of “dip” by players.
Despite death and litigation, the habit among young athletes continues, even with knowledge
of the risks of smokeless tobacco use. This litigation will publicize the dangers of “dip,” and perhaps
compensate the family of Tony Gwynn for his forced addition.
Questions and free initial consultations on all types of injury and wrongful death claims can
be addressed to the attorneys at Heiting and Irwin.