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Big Tobacco scored a victory earlier this month when the Florida Supreme Court upheld the decision of a lower court to throw out $145 billion awarded to a class of 300,000 to 700,000 Florida smokers. This opens the door for individual tobacco lawsuits by decertifying the class action.

A Miami jury had ruled in 2000 that the tobacco companies deceived smokers about the dangers of cigarettes and ordered them to pay $145 billion in punitive damages. Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals overturned the verdict in 2003 and said the state’s settlement with the tobacco companies in a multistate lawsuit barred the awarding of punitive damages.

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