Even after being reduced to $100 million from its original $3 billion total by a trial judge, a California appeals court ruled Tuesday that an individual smoker's punitive damages award against Philip Morris USA was still excessive and must be halved to $50 million. Both sides plan to appeal the ruling, with Philip Morris representatives continuing to claim that the ruling is excessive, while the estate of smoker Richard Boeken states that the $50 million amount is less than four days' profit for the tobacco maker, and will not be sufficient as punishment or as a deterrent.
The suit stems from claims made by Boeken for personal injury stemming from his smoking habit, which he was unable to quit before developing terminal lung cancer. Reuters has more. Read the opinion [PDF] issued by the California Second District Court of Appeal.