June 9, 2014 12:35 pm

Top court rejects Big Tobacco’s appeals of awards to Florida smokers

In this Thursday, April 14, 1994 file photo, heads of the nation's largest cigarette companies are sworn in before a hearing of a House Energy subcommittee which was holding hearings on the contents of cigarettes on Capitol Hill in Washington.

(AP Photo/John Duricka)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court of more than $70 million in court judgments to Florida smokers.

The justices did not comment Monday in rejecting the companies’ complaints.

READ MORE: Deal reached on issue tobacco firms lied about dangers of smoking

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Philip Morris USA Inc. and Lorillard Tobacco Co. wanted the court to review cases in which smokers won large damage awards without having to prove that the companies sold a defective and dangerous product or hid the risks of smoking.

Those cases all relied on a Florida court ruling that allows individual smokers or their surviving relatives to use jury findings in an earlier large class-action lawsuit, even though the verdict in that earlier case was overturned. Each plaintiff still has to show addiction to cigarettes, and resulting death or illness.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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