WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal of a Tampa lawsuit making it easier for sick smokers or their survivors to pursue lawsuits against tobacco companies.
The court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from Philip Morris USA Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., and Liggett Group LLC. They wanted the court to consider overturning a $2.5 million Tampa jury verdict in the death of smoker Charlotte Douglas.
The state courts said tobacco companies knowingly sold dangerous products and hid the hazards of cigarette smoking, and ruled that individual smokers can file their own suits but don’t have to prove those factors again in their cases. Plaintiffs still have to show they or their dead relatives were addicted to smoking, couldn’t quit and that cigarettes caused illness or death.