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A federal judge has ruled that New York’s participation in the nationwide $208 billion settlement reached in 1998 between 46 states and the tobacco industry bars subsequent claims for punitive damages in smokers’ damage actions in New York.

Southern District of New York Judge Charles L. Brieant in Mulholland v. Philip Morris, 05-9908, also rejected a design-defect theory that led to a $20 million verdict against two cigarette manufacturers in a separate 2005 state case. More than $17 million of that verdict stemmed from an award of punitive damages.

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