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Florida jury finds Brown & Williamson liable in smoker's death

JACKSONVILLE, Fla, June 10 (Reuters) - A Florida jury on Wednesday found cigarette-maker Brown & Williamson liable for conspiracy and other charges in the death of a long-time smoker and awarded his family at least $552,000 in damages.

The jury, delivering the second anti-tobacco verdict in an individual smoker's lawsuit in two years, also said punitive damages were warranted in the product liability case. The jury was due to resume talks on setting punitive damages shortly.

15:03 06-10-98

The jury in Duval County Court awarded the family of the late Roland Maddox $500,000 for medical costs and $52,249 in compensatory fees after ruling that Brown & Williamson was liable for negligence, conspiracy and producing a defective product.

Maddox's daughter, Angela Widdick, sued Brown & Williamson over the 1997 death of her father. Maddox's family said he smoked for nearly 50 years and primarily used Lucky Strike, made by American Tobacco Co., which merged with Brown & Williamson, a unit of B.A.T Industries Plc of Britain.

Maddox's family initially filed its suit against Brown & Williamson and Liggett Group Inc., a unit of Brooke Group Ltd . Liggett settled the suit for undisclosed terms.

The verdict was the second victory for plaintiff's attorney Norwood "Woody" Wilner, who scored a landmark, $750,000 verdict against Brown & Williamson in August 1996, on behalf of sick smoker Grady Carter.

15:16 06-10-98


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