La. jury awards $591 mln in smoking case

The tobacco industry must pay $591 million to fund a 10-year program to help Louisiana smokers quit, a jury in a class-action suit decided on Friday.

The defendants include Philip Morris USA, a unit of Altria Group Inc.; R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., part of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc.; Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., a unit of British American Tobacco Plc; and Lorillard, which is part of Loews Corp. and trades as Carolina Group.

The defendants promised to appeal the verdict, which is less than the $1 billion the plaintiffs had requested.

The verdict is the second part of a case filed in the mid-1990s. A jury last year found the tobacco companies must fund the programs, and the second phase of the case was to decide how much that would cost.

Provided by ArmMed Media
Revision date: July 6, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.