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In a victory for tobacco companies and American Airlines, a Miami-Dade Circuit Court jury Thursday decided secondhand smoke was not the cause of a former flight attendant’s chronic sinusitis, and awarded her nothing after a 10-day trial. It was the second victory in three trials for the industry, which faces more than 3,000 claims from flight attendants who say smoke from cigarette users aboard airliners made them sick. “The jury did the right thing,” said Kenneth Reilly of Shook, Hardy & Bacon in Miami, lead counsel for Philip Morris. Miami attorney Steve Hunter of Angones, Hunter, McClure, Lynch, Williams & Garcia, said he and his client, Suzette Janoff, were “very disappointed.” The firm has yet to decide if it will appeal. For the first time in the 11-year history of what is known as the Broin class action, lawyers for Philip Morris, Lorillard Tobacco, R.J. Reynolds and Brown & Williamson argued airlines should share the blame. On Wednesday, Circuit Judge Leslie B. Rothenberg initially rejected the argument, but reversed herself and allowed the claim to go to the jury. In 1991, thousands of flight attendants nationally contended that indirectly inhaling tobacco smoke while they worked aboard airliners caused a variety of respiratory and other illnesses. Under a 1997 settlement, some 3,125 nonsmoking attendants were allowed to sue tobacco companies individually after the companies agreed to accept the burden of proof and remove the statute of limitations.

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