Tobacco Takes a Hit

The industry loses its first class action. It could cost $200 billion

The plaintiffs were a grim collection of the walking wounded. Mary Farnan, who has been smoking since age 11, has lung cancer that has spread to her brain. Frank Amodeo's throat cancer forces him to eat through a hole in his stomach. Loren Lowery, a Vietnam veteran, has had part of his tongue cut out and his jaw replaced twice. Not the kind of opponents you'd want to challenge in front of a jury.

That's a lesson five tobacco companies learned the hard way last week, when a Florida jury found them liable for misleading smokers about the danger and addictiveness...

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