Jury awards $34 million to family who sued tobacco company after husband died of lung cancer

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PENSACOLA, Florida — A jury in Florida's Panhandle has awarded $34 million to the family of a man who died of lung cancer 15 years after he quit smoking.

The lawsuit filed by Garry O'Hara's widow and children against R.J. Reynolds tobacco company was one of thousands filed in Florida after the state Supreme Court tossed out a $145 billion class action verdict.

That 2006 ruling said smokers or families need only individually prove addiction and that smoking caused illnesses or deaths. It's taken as given that the companies sold a defective and dangerous product and hid smoking risks.

The jury reached their verdict Friday after a three-week trial in Pensacola. The cigarette makers routinely appeal all such verdicts.

An attorney for O'Hara's family told the Pensacola News-Journal (http://on.pnj.com/1ObbBa7 ) the verdict was "gratifying."

Information from: Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, http://www.pensacolanewsjournal.com

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