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New jury to decide payout in tobacco case

Dec. 13, 2012 at 2:52 PM

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Dec. 13 (UPI) -- A jury is set to decide how much in damages to award a Florida woman who had won a $300 million lawsuit against Philip Morris, a judge says.

In 2009, a Broward County jury awarded Lucinda Naugle, an emphysema sufferer, $300 million, ordering tobacco giant Philip Morris to pay $244 million in punitive damages, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

However, Circuit Judge Jeffrey Streitfeld ruled that the jury was swayed by anger and sympathy, and reduced the verdict to $36.8 million.

Then on Wednesday, the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach decided that Streitfeld's ruling was "moved by passions," deferring the matter to a new jury. The new jury will decide how much Philip Morris will pay Naugle, the newspaper said.

Naugle's attorneys and spokesmen for Altria, Philip Morris USA's parent company, have declined to comment on Wednesday's proceedings.

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