December 17, 2010

Massachusetts jury awards $81M in punitive damages to smoker's estate

Boston.com reports that a jury has awarded $81 million in punitive damages, on top of $50 million in compensatory damages, to the estate of Marie Evans, a lifelong smoker who began smoking at age 13.  The jury also awarded $21 million in compensatory damages to Evans' son. 

This award tops the recent $72 million punitive damages award in the Florida smoker litigation.  The Boston.com article says the compensatory damages award alone is believed to be the largest such award ever delivered by a jury in a wrongful death lawsuit against a tobacco company, and the largest total award standing today. Prior juries have awarded much higher punitive damages awards, but none of them survived appeal.

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