Trial begins in lawsuit filed by Florida widow against tobacco companies

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - A closely watched lawsuit against
tobacco companies filed by a Florida widow is going to trial in
Broward County.

It's the first such case to go to trial since the Florida
Supreme Court in 2006 threw out a record $145 billion class-action
verdict in a Miami case. The Supreme Court said each case would
have to be decided individually and about 8,000 have since been
filed.

The high court did uphold the original jury's findings that
tobacco companies sold dangerous products and concealed the dangers
of smoking.

In the Broward case, Elaine Hess blames nicotine addiction for
her husband Stuart's 1997 death. The companies argue that Hess
could have stopped smoking but chose to continue. Opening
statements are set for Tuesday.


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