Cigarette Makers Ordered to Pay

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Cigarette Makers Ordered to Pay

MIAMI -- A jury on Tuesday ordered three cigarette makers to pay $37.5 million in damages to a lawyer who lost his tongue to cancer.

John Lukacs blamed his 30 years of smoking up to three packs a day for his oral and bladder cancer. Philip Morris, Brown & Williamson and Liggett Group claimed his 20 cancer-free years after he quit smoking pointed to another cause.

The jury deliberated less than eight hours before awarding Lukacs and his wife the full compensatory damages suggested by his attorneys, according to the Associated Press.

The two-week trial covered medical expenses as well as pain and suffering for Lukacs and his wife, Yolanda. It was an outgrowth of a $145 billion punitive damage award issued in a class-action suit covering all sick Florida smokers two years ago.

William Ohlemeyer, associate general counsel of Philip Morris Cos., said Lukacs' case should not have gone to trial while the tobacco industry appeals the earlier verdict.

Jeff Raborn, Brown & Williamson's attorney, said the verdict wasn't surprising considering the jury had to accept "the faulty findings" of the previous jury, the report said.

The jury split liability among Liggett at 50 percent, Philip Morris and Brown & Williamson at 22.5 percent each, and Lukacs at 5 percent.