Winner of $37.5M Tobacco Suit Dies
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) - A real estate lawyer with oral and bladder cancer died less than three months after winning a $37.5 million jury award against three major cigarette makers. He was 77.
John Lukacs, who testified in June knowing he wouldn't likely live long enough to see any of the award, died at home Monday.
The award came in a compensatory damage claim that grew out of a $145 billion punitive verdict covering all sick Florida smokers two years ago.
Individual plaintiffs were allowed to seek compensatory damages after that verdict. Lukacs' claim was the only one approved yet for trial by a state appeals court, which cited his "imminent death."
Cigarette makers Philip Morris, Brown & Williamson and Liggett Group were ordered to pay the compensatory award.
The former Navy fighter pilot had a three pack a day habit when he quit smoking cold turkey after 30 years in 1970. He was diagnosed with cancer in the early 1990s, eventually losing his tongue to the disease.