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Smoker's Family to Get $22 Million

February 03, 2005|From Reuters

A jury in Independence, Mo., ordered Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. to pay $22 million to the family of a 73-year-old woman who died of lung and heart disease after smoking Kools for 58 years.

Ken McClain, attorney for the woman's family, said the jury found Brown & Williamson, a unit of Reynolds American Inc., liable for 25% of the illness that led to Barbara Smith's death in 2000.

The jury award is the fifth-largest in the nation for an individual smoker against a tobacco company, and includes $20 million in punitive damages, said Edward Sweda of the Tobacco Products Liability Project, which tracks tobacco litigation.

Tobacco companies have aggressively fought cases by individual smokers, and have paid settlements in three cases that did not involve punitive damages, Sweda said.

The companies are appealing 10 cases dating to 1999, in which juries awarded punitive damages amounts as large as $28 billion.

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