TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Florida Supreme Court is hearing the first of thousands of individual smoking cases filed since the justices voided a $145 billion class-action verdict against tobacco companies six years ago.
Three cigarette makers are appealing a $2.5 million jury verdict in the wrongful death case from Tampa that's being heard Thursday.
James Douglas alleged the companies were liable for the death of his wife, Charlotte, a smoker who died of lung disease.
The trial judge relied on procedures the Supreme Court established in the 2006 case. While the justices rejected the class-action, they upheld the jury's finding that tobacco companies sold dangerous products and hid the dangers of smoking.
Individual plaintiffs need not litigate that issue but must prove illnesses such as cancer or disease linked to cigarette smoking.