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FL Supreme Court Upholds $28M Tobacco Verdict

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(Photo by Daniel Barry/Getty Images)

(Photo by Daniel Barry/Getty Images)

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TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – A $28.3 million verdict has been upheld by the Florida Supreme Court after the family of a deceased smoker successfully sued R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

The justices Tuesday declined to take an appeal of the first of thousands of smoker lawsuits pending in Florida.

The 1st District Court of Appeal previously affirmed the verdict a Pensacola jury awarded to the family of Benny Martin, who died of lung cancer in 1995.

Reynolds had claimed the damages were excessive.

About 8,000 similar lawsuits are being tried individually after the Supreme Court in 2006 threw out a $145 billion class-action award against tobacco companies.

The high court held that cigarette makers knowingly sold dangerous and defective products but said damages must be decided on a case-by-case basis.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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