labels: industry - general
Florida court rejects $145-billion tobacco verdictnews
07 July 2006

Mumbai: The Florida Supreme Court has rejected a $145-billion damage award against cigarette manufacturers in the United States and stripped the case of its class-action status. The court, however, allowed individual claims of damage.

Terming the $145-billion damages award as "excessive as a matter of law" the court also reinstated compensatory damages awarded in some cases.

A Miami court had, in 2000, slapped the tobacco industry with the $145 billion in damages verdict in a suit filed on behalf of a group of sick smokers and the estates of some dead ones. The suit accused tobacco companies of misleading the public about the dangers of smoking.

The court did not entirely leave out some findings of liability but concluded that the causes of individual harm and the apportionment of fault among the defendants "are highly individualised and do not lend themselves to class-action treatment."

Although the decision did not get the companies off the hook entirely, it pushed up prices of tobacco stocks.

A final decision should come from the justice department.

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Florida court rejects $145-billion tobacco verdict