[JURIST] The Oregon Court of Appeals [official website] has vacated [opinion text] a $150 million jury verdict against cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris [corporate website] and remanded the case for a new trial to determine punitive damages. Philip Morris appealed a judgment by Multnomah County Circuit Judge Roosevelt Robinson, who found the 2002 jury award "grossly excessive" and reduced it to $100 million. The Court of Appeals, hearing the case en banc, held the reduction was proper but said Robinson should have granted Philip Morris' request that the jury be instructed not to consider harm to residents of other states. The appeals court upheld compensatory damages of more than $168,000.
The wrongful death lawsuit was brought by the estate of Michelle Schwarz, 53, an Oregon woman who died of lung cancer. Her family claimed the tobacco company fraudulently marketed low-tar cigarettes as safer than other cigarettes. AP has more. The Oregonian has local coverage.