Missouri appeals court orders new trial in tobacco case

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 | 8:11 a.m. CDT; updated 11:27 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 3, 2012

KANSAS CITY — A Missouri appeals court has ordered a third trial in an Independence family's lawsuit against tobacco company Brown & Williamson.

The court on Tuesday threw out a $1.5 million punitive judgment the company was ordered to pay to the family of Barbara Smith, who died in 2000 after smoking Kool cigarettes for nearly 50 years. That verdict came after a trial in 2009.

In the first trial in 2005, a Jackson County jury awarded the family $20 million in punitive damages but that verdict was overturned on appeal.

Brown & Williamson is now part of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. The Kansas City Star reported that the appeals court ruled Tuesday that Brown & Williamson's lawyers should not have been allowed to argue R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. was not liable for punitive damages.

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