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Mo. Supreme Court upholds $1.5M tobacco judgment

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Joe Gratz
/
Flickr

The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld a $1.5 million punitive damages judgment for a Kansas City area family in a long-running lawsuit against a tobacco company.

The court's ruling Tuesday affirmed the 2009 judgment against Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. for the family of Barbara Smith. The Independence woman was a longtime smoker and died of a heart attack in 2000.

A Jackson County jury originally awarded her family $20 million in punitive damages in 2005. But a Missouri appeals court sent the case back for a new trial on punitive damages. The subsequent judgment of $1.5 million in punitive damages had been appealed both by Smith's family and the tobacco company.

Brown & Williamson is now part of North Carolina-based Reynolds American Inc.