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Tobacco companies ordered to pay $35M in Florida case

x-ray view of the inside of human lungs and respiratory system

Pointing to "intentional" wrongdoing in the past by the tobacco industry, a Florida appeals court ordered two cigarette makers to pay a full $35 million jury award in a case involving a man who had to undergo two double-lung transplants.

A three-judge panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal overturned a lower-court decision that would have reduced the payment because of a finding that former smoker Richard Boatright was partially at fault. Boatright began smoking at age 12 and developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at age 39, the ruling said.

In a lawsuit filed in Polk County, a jury awarded $15 million in compensatory damages to Boatright and his wife and $20 million in punitive damages. A judge, however, had reduced the compensatory damages to $12.75 million because of what is known as "comparative" fault involving Boatright's smoking.

Almost all of the verdict was against cigarette maker Philip Morris USA, with a small portion against Liggett Group, LLC.


In a 15-page decision Wednesday, the appeals court said the damages should not have been reduced and detailed past misconduct by the tobacco industry.

Read the source article at Orlando Sentinel

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