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Florida appeals court upholds flight attendant's secondhand smoke suit

[JURIST] A Florida appeals court Wednesday upheld a $500,000 lower court verdict in favor of a former TWA flight attendant who had sued tobacco companies for health damage caused by secondhand smoke on airplanes. The case turned on interpretation of a 1997 settlement between the tobacco industry and nonsmoking flight attendants under which the industry agreed to pay $349 million in satisfaction of claims based on exposure to in-flight smoke before smoking before it was banned on domestic flights in 1990. Wednesday's decision, which will likely be appealed, could in theory clear the way for trials and damage awards in some 3000 similar cases. Read the full opinion of the Florida Third District Court of Appeal here [PDF]. AP has more.

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