about the foundation
The Coon Family Foundation is a small family foundation established in 2009, created with legal fees derived from the case of Jesse Williams vs. Phillip Morris Corporation.
Ten years ago an Oregon jury assessed $79.5 million in punitive damages against cigarette maker Philip Morris for causing the death of retired Portland school custodian Jesse Williams. Jesse's widow, Mayola Williams, brought the action. The jury found that, Philip Morris, which has since changed its name to "Altria", had misrepresented the dangers of cigarette smoking through a complex scheme of fraudulent research and deceptive advertising.
Shortly after the verdict, Philip Morris admitted publicly for the first time that its product is addictive and kills its customers. The cigarette company then spent ten years appealing its punishment in the Oregon and federal courts. On March 31, 2009, the United States Supreme Court dismissed the cigarette maker's final appeal.