Florida Widow Wins $30 Million Against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco

June 3, 2009

A Florida jury has awarded $30 million to a Pensacola widow in a ruling against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco.

Lawyers for Benny Martin, who died of lung cancer in 1995, said the tobacco company conspired to make their products more addictive to customers and withheld information about the dangers of smoking.

They said Martin started smoking 20 years before cigarettes had warning labels.

The case is one of the first to be tried after the 2006 Florida Supreme Court ruling that threw out a massive class action award to thousands of smokers and required the cases be proven individually.

An e-mail sent to R.J. Reynolds was not immediately returned.

Attorney Matt Schultz said he hopes the judgment will “deter these kinds of corporate activities in the future.”

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