A Florida appeals court tossed out a $2 million verdict in one of the thousands of smoker lawsuits against Philip Morris USA and other tobacco companies.
The 4th District Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday that a trial judge should have found that the claim by Leon Barbanell was barred by the statute of limitations. Barbanell won a wrongful death lawsuit in 2009 against Philip Morris in his wife’s 1996 lung cancer death.
The four-year statute of limitations in smoking cases begins to run when the smoking-related health problems become apparent. The appeals court found evidence that Shirley Barbanell suspected health problems years before that.
Such cases are being tried individually across Florida because of a 2006 decision by the state Supreme Court tossing out a $145 billion class action verdict.