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Published: 2/12/2009

Jury finds against tobacco company in smoker death

ASSOCIATED PRESS

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida A Florida jury has found that a longtime cigarette smoker's death was caused by addiction to nicotine, a potentially costly legal loss for tobacco giant Philip Morris.

The decision Thursday by the six-person jury means Philip Morris may have to pay millions of dollars in damages to Elaine Hess, widow of Stuart Hess. That phase of the case begins Friday.

The Hess lawsuit is the first of 8,000 such cases to reach trial since the Florida Supreme Court in 2006 threw out a $145 billion class-action jury award. Each smoker's case must be decided individually.

Hess's lawyers said he was hopelessly addicted to nicotine. The lawyer for Philip Morris said Hess chose not to quit despite known health risks.



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