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Tobacco Suit Judgement Lowered

A Los Angeles judge has ruled that a $28 billion punitive damage award against cigarette maker Philip Morris is excessive. He reduced the award to $28 million.

Judge Warren Ettinger today upheld the jury decision that the tobacco company was at least partially responsible for Betty Bullock’s cancer. But he called the $28 million punitive figure “reasonable.”

Ettinger denied the cigarette maker’s request for a new trial. In September, the jury ordered Philip Morris to pay Bullock $750,000 in economic damages and $100,000 for pain and suffering. The jury awarded the punitive damages a month later. The Newport Beach woman started smoking when she was 17. She was diagnosed last year with lung cancer, which has since spread to her liver.