11th Circ. Upholds $20M Punitive Award Against Philip Morris

By Emily Field (January 19, 2021, 7:02 PM EST) -- The Eleventh Circuit on Tuesday said that a $20.7 million punitive damages award in a jury's verdict is constitutional and not excessive in a long-running suit against Philip Morris brought by a now-deceased former smoker.

The panel said that the $20.7 million award to the estate of Judith Berger passes constitutional muster, given that Philip Morris engaged in reprehensible conduct because it knew its cigarettes were dangerous but spread a disinformation campaign starting in the 1950s that sowed false doubt about scientific research that linked smoking and disease. The panel also found that the roughly 3-1 ratio of the $20.7 million...

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