Jury Orders Florida Cigar Maker To Pay $44.4M To Competitor

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JACKSONVILE, Fla. (CBSMiami/AP) — A jury ordered a Florida cigar maker to pay up to the tune of $44.4 million for unfair business practices.

The Florida Times-Union reports that Jacksonville-based Swisher International was found to have violated a contract with another cigar company, Trendsettah USA.

Swisher, maker of the “Swisher Sweet” cigarillos, or small cigars, entered into a contract to make the same product for Trendsettah, which sold it under a different name called “Splitarillos.”

Sale of Splitarillos increased quickly, taking market share from Swisher Sweets.

In response, Trendsettah said Swisher capped the number of cigarillos it provided, leaving Trendsettah 200 million short of demand even though the contract had no maximum.

The jury found Swisher liable for breach of contract and violating federal anti-trust laws.

Swisher spokesman Joe Augustus said the company is considering an appeal.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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