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Tobacco Case Sent Back to Lower Court

The California Supreme Court is ordering a lower court to reconsider the $26.5 million punitive damages a jury awarded to a sick smoker. The case was against Philip Morris USA.

The court€™s move yesterday was its first to comply with recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court limiting punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish corporate misconduct.

The State Supreme Court€™s action is expected to be followed by top courts across the country. They€™re also grappling with the fallout of the high court€™s decisions limiting corporate liability.

The California Supreme Court sent the Philip Morris case to an appellate court to review the 1999 verdict at the request of the tobacco concern.

Philip Morris applauded the decision.