US top court lets stand $64 mn Florida smoking verdicts

The US Supreme Court refused Monday to take up tobacco industry appeals over more than $64 million in damages awarded to former smokers for health problems resulting from their addiction.

Without giving any explanation, the top court rejected 10 new petitions filed March 28, including six from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and one from Philip Morris USA Inc.

The were asking the nine justices to overturn decisions from Florida courts awarding large damages claims to former smokers or their surviving relatives.

Individual plaintiffs in the ten cases had been awarded amounts ranging between several thousand dollars to the highest award of $27.5 million.

In 2006, Florida's top court had overturned a awarding damages to former smokers and their relatives, and ordered plaintiffs to file cases individually.

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