After her husband’s death, Mrs. Schoeff sued RJR Tobacco. The jury awarded her $10.5 million in compensatory and $30 million in punitive damages. As Mr. Schoeff had been a smoker, the judge reduced the compensatory damages to $7.8 million because of his comparative fault. The Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld that reduction. The 4th DCA also found the punitive damages excessive and rejected Mrs. Schoeff’s argument that her husband’s comparative fault should not be taken into account. This Court accepted this case because the First District Court of Appeal reached the opposite conclusion about comparative fault in another case against RJR Tobacco.
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