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Philip Morris Loses Appeal, Will Pay Millions in Settlement

The Supreme Court has denied Philip Morris' last chance to overturn a $79.5 million punitive damages award, resulting from a lawsuit brought in a smoker's death.

Mayola Williams, who brought the suit on behalf of her late husband Jesse Williams, was awarded nearly $80 million dollars by the jury nearly 2 weeks ago, and following the decision today she is now able to collect her share, which will be between $60 and $65 million. The original judgement against the tobacco giant was issued in 1999 and then went to the Supreme Court in 2003 and 2007. Consequently, the money has been collecting interest and now totals more than $155 million.

Robert Peck, Williams' lawyer, said in an earlier interview that this decision signals a willingness to allow large awards in certain circumstances. "I think we can take from this long tale that if the behavior is sufficiently reprehensible, then larger awards are merited," Peck said.

MARCH-31-09: Philip Morris loses 10-year fight to block payout [MSNBC:PHILIP MORRIS LOSES 10-YEAR FIGHT]

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Last updated on Mar-31-09

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