Florida high court considering reinstatement of $145 billion tobacco award

Florida high court considering reinstatement of $145 billion tobacco award

[JURIST] Florida's Supreme Court is considering whether to restore a $145 billion class action verdict awarded to sick Florida smokers in their suit against the tobacco industry. After the two-year trial, Florida's 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled that its early certification of the case as a class action on behalf of 300,000 to 700,000 ill Floridians was a mistake and tossed out the $145 billion award. Lawyers for the plaintiffs told the state Supreme Court that it should reduce the award amount if the justices think it necessary, but that the appellate court decision to overturn the verdict and punitive judgment should be reversed. Lawyers for the tobacco industry say that "this case exemplifies the chaos that can result from improperly certified class actions." Watch recorded video and read a transcript of Wednesday's oral arguments. The Florida Supreme Court has briefs and other case documents. AP has more. JURIST's Paper Chase has background.