Fla. jury awards $75M to family of dead smoker

Published: Friday, June 1, 2012 at 2:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 1, 2012 at 2:17 p.m.

FORT LAUDERDALE — A jury in Fort Lauderdale has awarded the family of a dead smoker $75 million in damages against four tobacco companies.

The verdict Thursday came in the case of Johnnie Calloway, a smoker who died in 1992. His widow and daughter sued the four companies, blaming his death on an unbreakable cigarette habit.

The companies are Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard and Liggett. Cigarette makers routinely appeal verdicts and often succeed in getting large damage awards reduced.

The case is one of thousands proceeding in Florida courts. They are being tried individually because the state Supreme Court in 2006 tossed out a $145 billion class action verdict. That ruling also said smokers and their families need only prove addiction to cigarettes and that smoking caused their illnesses or deaths.

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