Smoker’s sister asks Florida judges to raise $16 million award

By Carolina Bolado (June 9, 2022, 6:19 p.m. EDT) — The sister of a smoker who died of lung cancer on Thursday asked the Florida Supreme Court to restore a $16 million punitive award against RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co., arguing that judges should look at the injury — the death — rather than the small amount of compensatory damages when calculating whether the award is excessive.

In oral argument, John Mills of Bishop & Mills PLLC, representing plaintiff Brinda Coates, said the award of punitive damages was inconsistent with the award of compensatory damages of $300,000 solely because that under Florida law, Coates cannot recover compensatory damages for his sister’s death.

But Florida…

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