The Suffolk Superior Court announced its decision on Tuesday regarding the case against Lorillard Tobacco Co. The said company tried to lure black children to smoke cigarettes by giving them free smokes. After hearing testimonies, the company was ruled by a jury, which awarded a $71 million for the compensatory damages to a child’s mother who has passed away because of lung cancer.

Willie Evans was the one who alleged Lorillard and said that it was the company who gave his mother Marie Evans, free cigarettes in the late 1950s. It was said that Lorillard was giving the late Evans Newport cigarettes at the Orchard Park housing in Boston where she formerly lived. According to Willie, his mother smoked for more than 40 years before she passed away at the age of 54 because of lung cancer.

After all the hearings, the jury finally gave the Evans the favor. Marie Evan’s estate was supposed to get $50 million as compensatory damages and her son will be handed $21 million. Another hearing will be set on Thursday on possible castigatory damages.

Lorillard is a company based in Greensboro, N.C. and also manufactures Old Gold, Kent, True, Max and Maverick cigarettes. The lawyer of the company said that the free cigarettes were given as samples only and it was done decades ago. Free samples were given to adults in an attempt to convince them to switch brands. According to the lawyer, the company did not give free cigarettes to children. In addition, the company lawyer said it is very disturbing to allege them that the company is giving away cigarettes to black children only. Moreover, the lawyer said that Evans decided to start and continue smoking even after she suffered a heart attack in 1985. Evans doctors advised her to quit smoking to no avail. The spokesperson of Lorillard said that it would appeal to the verdict.

On an official statement, Gregg Perry, the company spokesman, said, "Lorillard respectfully disagrees with the jury's verdict and denies the plaintiff's claim that the company sampled to children or adults at Orchard Park in the early 1960s. The plaintiff's 50-year-old memories were persuasively contradicted by testimony from several witnesses. The company will appeal and is confident it will prevail once the Massachusetts Court of Appeals reviews this case.”

On the other hand, the attorney of Willie Evans, Michael Weisman, chose not to comment on the case until the court hearing on Thursday is finished. The lawsuit is said to be the first in the United States to charge a cigarette-maker of intentionally picking black children to give away cigarettes in urban neighborhoods. This was according to Edward A. Sweda, the senior attorney for the Tobacco Products Liability Project at Boston’s Northeastern University School of Law. According to him, he finds the decision as “quite significant and groundbreaking here in Massachusetts for a plaintiff in a tobacco case.”

According to the lawyers of Evans, Marie started to smoke when she was only 9 when she received free cigarettes from the company. She first traded it for candies to her older sister until she decided to smoke it herself at the age of 13.