Thanks to the 3rd District Court of Appeal’s ruling last week, the tobacco industry might have escaped a budget-busting punitive damage award in the ongoing Miami tobacco trial. But that doesn’t mean the industry can avoid some large pay-outs in the near future.

Friday’s ruling by a three-judge appeals court panel reversed a decision by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Robert Kaye that would allow a jury during the upcoming second phase of the trial to assess a single punitive damage award against the industry’s leading cigarette makers for their role in hiding the dangers of smoking.

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