Jury selection set for new trial in $20M judgment

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Jury selection was scheduled to begin Monday for a new trial on the $20 million awarded from a tobacco company to an Independence man whose wife died of heart disease.

A Jackson County jury in 2005 awarded Lincoln Smith $20 million in punitive damages from Brown & Williamson for the 2000 death of his wife, Barbara. The company is now part of North Carolina-based Reynolds American Inc.

The Missouri appeals court sent the case back for a new trial on the punitive damages after finding that of three claims made, only one had been submissible.

Barbara Smith smoked for about 50 years, and also filed a personal injury lawsuit against Brown & Williamson before her death. A federal judge rejected that lawsuit.

Both lawsuits accused Brown & Williamson of causing her fatal disease.

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