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Mo. Family Awarded $20M In Tobacco Suit

Feb 3, 2005 | AP

A jury has awarded the family of a woman who smoked for nearly 50 years more than $20 million in a wrongful death lawsuit against the maker of Kool cigarettes, the largest total judgment against a tobacco company in Missouri.

The Jackson County jury awarded the family of Barbara Smith the punitive damages Wednesday.

Brown & Williamson officials called the damages "grossly excessive" and asked the judge to set aside the judgment.

Smith smoked Kool cigarettes for nearly 50 years before quitting in 1990. She died 10 years later of a heart attack at age 73. She had heart and lung disease.

In October, a Los Angeles jury ruled that Philip Morris USA should pay $28 billion to a 45-year smoker with lung cancer. A judge later slashed the award to $28 million.

The previous record for a verdict won by an individual against a tobacco company was $3 billion, awarded in June 2001. A California judge later reduced that to $100 million.

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