Supreme Court Lets Stand Tobacco Firm’s $80 Million Punitive Damages

March 31, 2009

The Supreme Court dismissed Tuesday an appeal by Altria Group Inc.’s Philip Morris USA over $79.5 million in punitive damages awarded to the widow of a longtime Oregon smoker.

The top court did not decide the merits of the dispute, but in a one-sentence ruling said the appeal was dismissed as “improvidently granted.” Philip Morris in its appeal had argued that the Oregon Supreme Court in upholding the award had defied an earlier U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case.

(Reporting by James Vicini, Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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