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Jury awards damages to smoker's heir

August 25, 2009|Times Staff and Wire Reports

A Los Angeles County Superior Court jury said cigarette maker Philip Morris USA should pay $13.8 million in punitive damages to the daughter of a longtime smoker who died of lung cancer.

The jury returned the verdict more than eight years after the smoker, Betty Bullock, sued the company for fraud and product liability. The panel voted 9 to 3 in favor of Bullock's daughter, Jodie Bullock, who is now the plaintiff in the case.

A separate jury said Philip Morris should pay a record $28 billion in punitive damages to Betty Bullock in 2002, but a judge later reduced the award to $28 million. In 2008, the 2nd U.S. District Court of Appeal reversed the jury's decision and remanded the case for a new trial over the punitive damages.

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