Court OKs $35 million award for Florida smoker's widow

Woman sued on behalf of late 59-year-old husband

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MIAMI - An appeals court has upheld a jury's verdict awarding $35 million in damages to the widow of a longtime smoker who died in 1996 of lung cancer.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal affirmed $25 million in punitive damages and $10 million in compensatory damages against Lorillard Tobacco Co. for Dorothy Alexander. Lorillard unsuccessfully argued the damages were excessive and raised a number of other claims.

Alexander sued on behalf of her late husband, 59-year-old Coleman Alexander. The couple had been married almost 38 years.

The case is one of thousands filed in Florida after the state Supreme Court in 2006 tossed out a $145 billion class action verdict. That ruling also said smokers and their families need only prove addiction and that smoking caused their illnesses or deaths.

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