Judge Upholds $145B Smokers’ Award
MIAMI (AP) _ A Florida circuit judge Monday upheld a record-setting $145 billion award to Florida smokers, rejecting tobacco industry requests to reduce the award and conduct a new trial.
Circuit Judge Robert Kaye issued the comprehensive 68-page order the same day he received a federal judge’s decision rejecting federal jurisdiction and sending the case back to him.
There was no immediate reaction from attorneys on either side. They received the unexpected order shortly after the tobacco industry announced plans to file a notice of appeal on the jurisdiction issue.
But there was joyful reaction from the other side.
``Wow. Oh, my goodness. You delivered us good news,″ said Margaret Amodeo, wife of one of the smokers who sat through the two-year trial. ``Oh, that’s wonderful.″
The final judgment opens the door on what is expected to be a prolonged appeals process in state courts.