Major Events in Smoking Lawsuit
Major events in the first smokers' class-action lawsuit to come to trial:
May 1994 - Class-action suit filed on behalf of sick U.S. smokers
against the nation's five biggest cigarette makers and two industry groups.
January 1996 - State appeals court limits class to sick smokers in Florida.
July 6, 1998 - Jury selection begins.
October 1998 - Opening statements. Judge imposes gag order on trial participants.
July 1999 - Jury decides tobacco
industry fraudulently conspired to make a dangerous, addictive product that causes cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.
April 2000 - Responding to news media and industry appeals, a federal judge lifts gag order. State jury awards $6.9 million in compensatory damages to two smokers. Jury also awards third smoker $5.8 million but said he should be barred from collecting the money because a four-year statute of limitations had expired. Judge says he would decide later how to handle that ruling.
July 2, 2000 - Testimony ends in punitive verdict phase of trial. Lawyers prepare for final arguments and for handing case over to jury.