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Philip Morris Loses Appeal in Henley Case, to Seek Review

NEW YORK (AFX) - Philip Morris Cos Inc unit Philip Morris USA said California's First Appellate District Court of Appeal refused to overturn a jury's 1999 decision awarding damages to Patricia Henley, of 1.5 mln usd in compensatory damages and 25 mln usd in punitive damages.

 

The company said it will ask the California Supreme Court to review the decision.

Patricia Henley is a former smoker who has lung cancer.

Philip Morris USA said Henley's cancer appears to be in remission.

The company's lawyer noted that the ratio of punitive damages to compensatory damages in this case is similar to that in the case against Exxon Mobil Corp for the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

A federal appeals court yesterday ruled the ratio as too high.

"It is particularly ironic that this state appellate court decision was released on the same day that the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the punitive damage verdict against Exxon in the Valdez case because the ratio of punitive to compensatory damages was 17-to-1, essentially the same ratio involved in the Henley case," said William S Ohlemeyer, vice president and associate general counsel of Philip Morris Companies Inc.


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