Tobacco Giant Ordered to Pay US8m Over Cancer Death

19 02 2009

A Florida court has ordered US tobacco giant Philip Morris to pay US$8 million to the widow of a lung cancer victim, in a case that may well set a precedent for 8,000 similar trials in the southern state.

The jury rejected Elian Hess’ demand for US$130 million compensation, arguing that her husband Stuart Hess was partly responsible for his death since he smoked three packs a day of Benson & Hedges before he died at 55 in 1997.

But after nine hours of deliberations the jury ordered the cigarette maker to pay US$2 million in compensatory damages to Elaine Hess, US$1 million to her son David and US$5 million in punitive damages.

Philip Morris has said it will appeal the judgment.

The ruling follows a 2006 judgement from the state’s supreme court that struck down a record US$145 million punitive award in a class action suit. – The Standard




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