Georgia’s participation in the 1998 tobacco settlement bars the heirs of a woman who died of lung cancer in 2001 from seeking punitive damages from Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled in a 6-1 decision Monday.

Leslie J. Bryan of Doffermyre Shields Canfield Knowles & Devine, who represents the deceased woman’s relatives, said the decision is the first by a state’s highest court that the $246 billion settlement with 46 states, including Georgia, precludes an individual’s claim for punitive damages.

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