WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appellate court is ordering a new trial after reversing an ailing former smoker's $39 million judgment against a tobacco company.
A three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach ruled Wednesday that a Broward County jury was unduly swayed by Cindy Naugle's poor health and the refusal of Philip Morris USA to admit past wrongdoing.
The panel reversed its June decision to uphold the judgment after Philip Morris asked for a rehearing.
The jury initially awarded Naugle $300 million. Circuit Judge Jeffrey Streitfeld reduced that verdict to $39 million because he believed the jury had acted out of sympathy.
The appellate court decided only a retrial could correct the jury's error based on case law previously not submitted.
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