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3 US Tobacco Companies Ordered to Pay $100M to Settle Lawsuits

By    |   Wednesday, 25 Feb 2015 05:31 PM

Three U.S. tobacco companies will reportedly pay $100 million to settle lawsuits stemming from claims that smoking was harmful to people's health.

An AFP report details the settlement, which involves Philip Morris USA, RJ Reynolds, and Lorillard.

A Florida judge awarded the money to more than 400 plaintiffs after the companies agreed to settle. All of the plaintiffs must approve of the payout before it is made official.

According to the report, Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds will each shell out $42.5 million. Lorillard is on the hook for $15 million.

"We are very pleased that after many years of litigation, the parties were able to reach agreement. This settlement will provide immediate compensation to our clients, many of whom are very elderly," attorney Robert Nelson of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein said in a statement cited by AFP. That firm helped hammer out the deal.

The settlement involves cases pending in federal court, according to AFP, not those at the state level. Those federal cases were part of the larger group of Engle cases, which stem from a class-action lawsuit filed in Florida in 1994. In 2006, those cases were included in a Florida Supreme Court decision that erased the class-action lawsuit, which originally was looking for $145 billion.

Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris USA, reacted to the settlement in another statement.

"Today's agreement is in the best interest of the company," Altria's senior vice president and associate general counsel Murray Garnick said, according to AFP. "As for the Engle progeny cases in state court, we will continue to defend ourselves vigorously, including appealing adverse verdicts."

Last summer, a Florida jury awarded a smoker's widow $23 billion in a lawsuit against RJ Reynolds. The woman's husband smoked 1-3 packs a day for more than 20 years before he died of lung cancer at age 36 in 1996. The suit claimed RJ Reynolds conspired to conceal the dangers of smoking.

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Three U.S. tobacco companies will reportedly pay $100 million to settle lawsuits stemming from claims that smoking was harmful to people's health.
tobacco, companies, settle, lawsuits, pay, dangers, smoking, health
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2015-31-25
Wednesday, 25 Feb 2015 05:31 PM
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