So much for November’s record verdict against Philip Morris, which awarded $300 million to an emphysema patient.
On Friday, Judge Jeffrey Streitfeld called the amount “excessive” and “shocking,” according to an article in the Daily Business Review. A Florida jury awarded Cindy Naugle $56.5 million in compensatory damages and $244 million in punitive damages.
The $244 million is based on the profits earned by Philip Morris during the trail, which Mayer Brown partner Andrew Frey told the Business Review is, “ totally arbitrary,” and “disconnected from the conduct. It’s disconnected from the need for deterrence.”
Streitfeld said he will decide what a more appropriate award will be, but did not provide a timeline for his ruling.
Interestingly, the Judge offered a little advice to the tobacco company’s lawyers. He blamed their tactic of “blame the smoker” with inciting anger in the jury that caused the outlandish verdict.
The verdict was the largest ever for an individual against a tobacco company, but is just one of 8,000 cases filed after Florida invalidated a $145 billion punitive damages verdict in 2006.
Read more at Law.com.
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