R.J. Reynolds to Face Punitive Damage Hearing in Smoker Suit
Kansas City, Kansas, Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc. will face a May 16 hearing to determine how much the cigarette maker should pay in punitive damages to a longtime smoker.
A jury last week told the No. 2 tobacco company to pay $196,416 to David Burton, who blamed cigarettes for the vascular disease that led to the amputation of his legs.
The jury also concluded that R.J. Reynolds should pay punitive damages; the amount will be set by U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum. In a conference today, the judge didn't say if he would announce his ruling at the May 16 hearing.
Jurors also said that Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. should pay $1,984 in damages, but not punitive damages.
R.J. Reynolds may challenge the verdict even before the May 16 hearing. Brown & Williamson, a unit of British American Tobacco Plc, said it would appeal the verdict.
Burton, 66, a former railroad worker and janitor, claimed the tobacco companies failed to warn smokers about the risks of cigarettes.
Shares of R.J. Reynolds fell $1.58 to $65.07 today, while British American Tobacco's American depositary receipts fell 5 cents to $18.65. R.J. Reynolds is the No. 2 cigarette maker behind Philip Morris Cos.