Court upholds $28M Pensacola award to smoker’s family

The 1st District Court of Appeal has upheld a $28.3 million verdict against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in a lawsuit filed by the family of a deceased smoker, Benny Martin. The judgment was awarded in September 2009. The Levin Papantonio firm represented the Martin family.

The 1st District Court of Appeal’s ruling Tuesday marked the first decision on an appeal in thousands of smoker lawsuits being tried across the state. The court sided with the family of Pensacola smoker Benny Martin, who died of lung cancer in 1995.

The appeals judges disagreed with the tobacco company’s claims that damages were excessive.