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Jury Orders RJR to Pay $30 Million to Widow of Florida Smoker

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Cigarette maker R.J. Reynolds has been ordered to pay $30 million to the widow of a Florida man who died from lung cancer, another in a string of verdicts against the tobacco industry, Consumer Affairs reported June 2.

The Benny Martin case was just one of scores filed in Florida after the state Supreme Court decertified a class-action lawsuit known as Engle, but said that individuals could still sue tobacco firms and base their suits on a finding of fact that tobacco products are addictive and dangerous.

The award in the Martin case included $5 million in compensatory payments and $25 million in punitive damages. A lawyer for R.J. Reynolds said that the award was unconstitutionally excessive, and an appeal is likely.

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