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COURT DROPS REVIEW OF TOBACCO VERDICT The California Supreme Court dismissed a huge tobacco case on Wednesday, deciding not to review a ruling that awarded $10.5 million in damages to a longtime smoker who developed lung cancer. The court’s unanimous vote lets stand a 6-month-old First District Court of Appeal ruling that gave Patricia Henley $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $9 million in punitive damages against Philip Morris USA, the country’s largest tobacco company. Kentfield solo practitioner Daniel Smith said Wednesday that he and Henley’s other attorneys had asked the court to dismiss the case earlier in the summer. The court originally took the case in April, but put it on hold pending disposition of a related issue regarding punitive damages in another case — Simon v. San Paolo U.S. Holding, S121933. But Henley’s appellate team argued that the issues in their case and in Simon were not the same, and the high court apparently agreed. Although Philip Morris could seek review by the U.S. Supreme Court, the case is apparently over in California. “This is huge,” Smith said. “It’s the first tobacco judgment in California to award compensatory and punitive damages and to become final.” Philip Morris’ lawyers at Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles couldn’t be reached for comment. San Francisco jurors originally awarded Henley $50 million in punitive damages, but that was knocked down to $25 million by the trial judge. The appeal court later lowered it to $9 million. The case is Henley v. Philip Morris USA, S123023. — Mike McKee

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