FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - A Broward County jury soon will
decide the first of 8,000 lawsuits blaming health problems and
deaths of Florida smokers on tobacco companies.
Closing arguments were set Thursday in a lawsuit filed by Elaine
Hess, whose husband died of lung cancer. The lawsuit against Philip
Morris is the first to go to trial since the Florida Supreme Court
in 2006 threw out a huge $145 billion class-action jury award,
ruling that each case had to be proven individually.
The key is whether Hess's husband Stuart was addicted to
cigarettes or chose not to quit. If jurors find he was addicted,
then they will have to decide on money damages.
Philip Morris acknowledged smoking's risks but contended Stuart
Hess could have quit.