(NEW YORK) — R.J. Reynolds Tobacco is fighting back against an order to pay billions to a widow of a former smoker who passed away 18 years ago from lung cancer.
The country’s second-largest cigarette maker says it will appeal last Friday’s jury verdict ordering the company to pay $23.6 billion in punitive damages.
The verdict came just days after Reynolds’ parent company, Reynolds American Inc., announced it was purchasing Lorillard, the maker of Newport cigarettes, for $27.4 billion.
A lawyer for the plaintiff stated that big tobacco “cannot continue to lie to the American people” with regard to the addictiveness of cigarettes.
J. Jeffrey Raborn, an executive for Reynolds, called the verdict “grossly excessive and impermissible under state and constitutional law.”
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Sara Ashley O'Brien, CNN
Ralph Ellis, CNN
Ivana Kottasova, CNN