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Appeals Court: Tobacco Firms Must Pay $24.8 Million to Florida Smoker's Widow


The 3rd District Court of Appeal has upheld a $24.8-million judgment against a trio of tobacco companies in a products-liability case, reported March 19.

The late John Luckacs' case against Philip Morris USA, Brown & Williamson, and Liggett Group has been in the courts for nearly a decade. The jury originally awarded $37.5 million to Lickacs' widow, Yolanda, in 2002. The amount was later reduced.

Luckacs was originally part of Florida's Engle class-action lawsuit, which was dismantled by the courts in 2006. Like other such cases, the Luckacs litigation relied on the jury findings in the Engle case as the basis for its arguments against the tobacco industry.

Stuart Ratzan, a Miami attorney whose firm is involved in more than 100 smoker cases, said the Luckacs decision shows that the tobacco industry is “in big trouble.”

“This is a quick pronouncement by an appellate court. When the victories continue to come one after the next in every layer of our justice system, the end is near,” he said.

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