- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 6, 2002

SALEM, Ore. (AP) The Oregon Court of Appeals yesterday reinstated a $79.5 million punitive damage award against Philip Morris in a lawsuit brought by relatives of a man who died after smoking Marlboros for four decades.
The award had been reduced to $32 million by a trial judge on grounds it was excessive. The appeals court decision could be appealed to the state Supreme Court.
Philip Morris officials had no immediate comment.
The 1999 jury award was, at the time, the largest liability verdict against tobacco companies.
The damages totaled more than $80 million when awards for medical costs and pain and suffering were included. The punitive damages were awarded for fraud on grounds that the company knew of the harm of smoking and concealed the facts.
Yesterday's ruling by a three-judge appeals court panel reversed Circuit Judge Anna J. Brown, who said she based her decision to cut the award on limitations imposed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The appeals court panel unanimously said the jury's punitive damage award to the family of Jesse Williams fit within federal standards. The court said the company's actions were "particularly egregious and thus justify particularly strong judicial punishment."
Mr. Williams, a former Portland school janitor, died of lung cancer in 1997 at age 67 after smoking mostly Marlboro cigarettes for 42 years.
There was little doubt about the tie between smoking and lung cancer by the late 1950s, the appeals court wrote in its opinion, "and there was absolutely no basis for a genuine dispute on the issue by the 1970s and 1980s."

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