TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The Florida Supreme Court decided not to upset its own landmark decision that makes it easier for thousands of sick smokers or their survivors to pursue lawsuits against tobacco companies.
The justices on Thursday affirmed in a 6-1 decision a $2.5 million Tampa jury verdict in the death of smoker Charlotte Douglas. Justice Charles Canady dissented.
In doing so, the majority reapproved the court's 1996 "Engle" decision accepting that Big Tobacco knowingly sold dangerous products and hid the hazards. The Engle case says individual smokers can file their own suits but don't have to prove those factors again in their cases.
Plaintiffs do have to show that they or dead family members couldn't quit and that cigarettes caused illness or death.