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Putting most of the blame on a smoker, a Broward Circuit Court jury awarded his widow $86,000 in a verdict Philip Morris USA plans to appeal.

In Tuesday’s verdict, the jury found Chris Hatziyannakis was 68 percent at fault for his death, reducing the award from about $269,000. The jury was asked for a six-figure award.

Hatziyannakis died of lung cancer in 1994, and the case was brought by his widow, Despina Hatziyannakis, who was represented by Crane Johnstone of the Schlesinger Law Firm in Fort Lauderdale. He did not return a call for comment by deadline.

“The fact that plaintiffs obtained any award is the direct result of improper rulings that meant that the plaintiff did not have to prove his case,” said Murray Garnick, Altria Client Services senior vice president. Kenneth Reilly of Shook Hardy Bacon in Miami represented Philip Morris, an Altria subsidiary.

In another smoker case Wednesday, the 4th District Court of Appeal affirmed without comment a $700,000 award from Broward Circuit Court against the Liggett Group in the lung cancer death of 81-year-old Chesterfield smoker Joseph Ferlanti.

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