The $300 million awarded to an ex-smoker who needs a lung transplant would be the nation’s largest award to an individual suing a tobacco company, if the award survives appeal, reports the New York Times.
The award could also encourage thousands of other smokers to file suit in Florida since a supreme court ruling a few years ago made it easier to pursue the suits there than in other states. In 2006, Florida had a legal ruling which lowered the plaintiff’s burden of proof against a tobacco company.
The 61-year-old woman was awarded $56 million in compensatory damages and $244 million in punitive damages. She started smoking when she was 20-years-old and quit when she was 45. She now has severe emphysema and needs a lung transplant which she is unable afford.
The jury found the woman 10% responsible for her smoking and her disease and Philip Morris 90% responsible.