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Oregon high court upholds $79.5M damage award against Philip Morris

[JURIST] The Oregon Supreme Court [official website] Thursday upheld an award of $79.5 million in punitive damages [opinion] that a jury in 1999 directed Philip Morris USA to pay to relatives of an Oregon man who died of lung cancer from smoking. The same jury set the level of compensatory damages at $821,000. The Oregon high court called the cigarette marketing tactics of Philip Morris, a unit of Altria Group, "reprehensible" while Philip Morris vowed to again appeal the decision to the US Supreme Court [official website], which had ordered the Oregon court to reconsider the original award in 2003. Philip Morris claims that the Oregon court's decision conflicts with the Supreme Court's 2002 ruling in State Farm v. Campbell [PDF opinion] which sets guidelines for calculating punitive damages. Reuters has more.

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