The Florida Supreme Court last week upheld a $28.3 million judgment against the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.. The award goes to the relatives of a Pensacola man who died 16 years ago.
Thousands of similar suits filed by other Florida smokers or their families are still pending against R.J. Reynolds and other tobacco companies. They were filed individually after the state’s high court threw out a $145 billion class-action judgment against the companies in 2006.
Though the class action for damages was tossed out, the high court upheld the underlying premise that tobacco companies knew they were selling addictive products and did not warn smokers about the risks.
The court said damages must be determined in each individual case.
Last week’s decision was based on the court’s determination that it would not hear an appeal by R.J. Reynolds. The company said that it would appeal.
It is not clear if the cumulative damage awards could ultimately affect state tobacco settlement income revenue.