WASHINGTON (NBC News) - The U.S. Supreme Court rejected again the big tobacco's appeal of a landmark Florida ruling that is helping thousands of smokers sue cigarette makers over their illnesses.
The nation's highest court said today it will not hear arguments from Philip Morris USA, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and Vector Group Ltd. who repeatedly challenged a 1996 multi-million dollar ruling in favor of a smoker's family who died of lung cancer.
The verdict established tobacco companies knowingly sold harmful products to consumers and didn't disclose the dangers of smoking.
From that point on, people who wanted to file lawsuits against the cigarette makes didn't have to prove those factors again.
Since the ruling, Florida juries have delivered verdicts totaling more than $500 million against the tobacco industry.
The Supreme Court began its new term today amid the partial shutdown of the federal government now in the second week.
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