November 20, 2009 - Woman Wins $300 Million Verdict in Tobacco Suit

Phillip Morris says it will appeal the $300 million awarded a Florida woman who claimed the tobacco company hid the addictive and harmful nature of cigarettes.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Friday Fort Lauderdale office manager Cindy Naugle won the jury verdict in Broward County Circuit Court Thursday in her civil lawsuit claiming Phillip Morris committed fraud.

Attorneys for Naugle said the 60-year-old woman, sister of former Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle, has emphysema and travels with a portable oxygen concentrator.

Cindy Naugle said in her suit she started smoking in 1968 and quit 25 years later.

Altria Client Services Senior Vice President Murray Garnick said on behalf of Philip Morris USA the $300 million verdict would be appealed, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

"Today's verdict was the result of numerous erroneous rulings by the trial judge that allowed the jury to hear extensive evidence totally unrelated to the individual smoker, Lucinda Naugle," Garnick said. "We believe that the punitive damages award is grossly excessive and a clear violation of constitutional and state law."

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