Tobacco Companies Await Smokers' Class-Action Verdict
Philip Morris Cos. and other U.S. cigarette makers are about to face a Miami jury's verdict in the first trial of a class-action lawsuit by smokers, with thousands of Florida cigarette users seeking billions in damages for smoking-related illnesses.
Closing arguments in the eight-month trial in state court in Miami began this morning and the jury is expected to begin deliberating later this week. The industry is accused of causing disease and death to an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 smokers. If the jury finds that the industry is liable, a second phase of the trial would be held to consider how much in damages to award a handful of individual plaintiffs. A third phase would determine how much additional money would be awarded to other smokers in the class.