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Florida Widow Wins $23.6 Billion in Tobacco Case

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A Florida jury has reached one of the largest verdicts ever against a tobacco company.

The jury has ordered RJ Reynolds, the second-largest tobacco company in the U.S., to pay $23.6 billion in punitive damages to the widow of a longtime smoker.

Michael Johnson Sr. died of lung cancer in 2008, and his wife Cynthia Robinson filed the suit soon after, arguing that the tobacco company didn’t inform consumers of “the dangers of consuming tobacco,” causing Johnson Sr. to contract lung cancer, Yahoo News reports.

According to the suit, Johnson Sr. also became “addicted” to cigarettes and could not stop smoking despite his attempts.

After 15 hours of deliberating, the Escambia County jury came to its decision, awarding the widow $16 million in compensatory damages in addition to the punitive damages.

However, RJ Reynolds is planning to appeal the decision, according to Yahoo.

“The court will follow the law and not allow this runaway verdict to stand,” Reynolds assistant general counsel J. Jeffery Raborn said.

YOUR TURN: Do you think this was a reasonable decision? Let us know in the comments!