The State Appeals Court in Kansas City has thrown out the largest punitive damage award in Missouri history on a smoking case – $20-Million – but has let stand a finding that Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company worked to keep harmful information about smoking from reaching the public.
The Appeals Court has sent the case back to a lower court for a new trial on punitive damages. The ruling says the basis for the jury’s award is unclear. However, one judge has dissented from the opinion and has exercised his right to have the issue sent directly to the State Supreme Court.
The ruling breaks new ground by saying that the death of a person suing a tobacco company for causing health problems does not keep survivors from filing their own lawsuit later.