Former smoker to discuss $300 million Fla. verdict

AP News
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Posted: Nov 20, 2009 9:08 AM

A former smoker in Fort Lauderdale is speaking out about her $300 million verdict against Philip Morris.

A jury on Thursday ordered Philip Morris to pay 61-year-old Cindy Naugle what is believed to be the largest award yet among thousands of Florida lawsuits against tobacco companies. Naugle is holding a news conference with her attorneys on Friday in Fort Lauderdale.

The award amounts to $56 million in compensatory and $244 million in punitive damages against Richmond, Va.-based Philip Morris USA. The unit of Altria Group Inc. said it will seek review of the verdict.

It is one of 8,000 lawsuits against tobacco companies working their way through Florida courts since the state Supreme Court in 2006 said each case had to be decided individually, not in a class-action lawsuit.