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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fla. appeals court says $33M in damages to smoker’s widow not excessive

Today's post was shared by Legal Newsline and comes from

A Florida appeals court this week denied a tobacco company’s request for a new trial in a lawsuit brought against the company by the widow of a former smoker.

Also Wednesday, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal upheld a $33 million award to the widow, Dorothy Alexander, saying the damages were not excessive.

After a three-week trial, the jury found in favor of Alexander on her claims against Lorillard Tobacco Company for strict liability, fraudulent concealment, conspiracy to commit fraud by concealment and negligence, but found Alexander’s husband, Coleman, 20 percent comparatively liable.

The jury awarded Alexander $20 million in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages.

Lorillard filed multiple post-trial motions, including motions seeking remittitur of the compensatory and punitive damages awards.

The Miami-Dade County Circuit Court denied all of Lorillard’s post-trial motions except the motion for remittitur of the compensatory damages award and remitted the compensatory damages award to $10 million.

After computation of comparative fault, Alexander was awarded $8 million in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages, which the trial court declined to remit.
Lorillard appealed.

On appeal, the tobacco company basically reiterated its post-trial claims of error. Additionally, it claimed that it is entitled to a new trial on compensatory damages rather than the...
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