Court Upholds $6.5M Tobacco Verdict

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Court Upholds $6.5M Tobacco Verdict

NEW YORK -- Philip Morris USA on Monday said a Florida appellate court affirmed a jury's 2003 decision that ordered it and Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. to pay damages to a former smoker with lung disease, reported Reuters.

Last year a jury awarded about $6.54 million to John Eastman but found Eastman, a former smoker with a respiratory illness, to be 50 percent at fault.

It found Philip Morris USA, the largest U.S. cigarette maker, liable for 40 percent of total damages, or about $2.6 million, and Brown & Williamson liable for 10 percent of the damages, or close to $654,000. The jury did not award punitive damages.

A three-judge panel of Florida's Second Circuit Court of Appeal rejected Philip Morris USA's argument that the jury was given improper legal instructions when it concluded that Eastman, now 75, was entitled to damages, the company said in a statement.

Philip Morris USA said the court affirmed the decision without explanation and added that the company would now seek further appellate review.