November 16, 2017 / 9:42 PM / a year ago

Florida appeals court throws out $12 million tobacco verdict

A Florida appeals court on Wednesday tossed a $12 million jury verdict against tobacco companies Philip Morris USA Inc and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co, finding that the trial judge wrongly denied the jury a readback of testimony.

The unanimous three-judge panel of the Florida District Court of Appeal, Second District, ordered a new trial in the case brought by the estate of a longtime smoker who died from lung cancer, saying the trial judge abused his discretion.

Denying the readback “interfered with the jury’s ability to discharge its duties as the finder of fact,” wrote the appeals panel of Judges Samuel Salario, Patricia Kelly and Anthony Black.

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