Mr. Sheffield was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1994 and passed away in 2007. The personal representative of his estate filed a lawsuit against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, claiming that his death resulted from smoking R.J. Reynolds’ cigarettes. At trial, the jury awarded approximately $6.8 million in damages, $5 million of which was for punitive damages. R.J. Reynolds appealed, arguing that the trial court applied the wrong version of Florida law for determining punitive damages. The Fifth District agreed with R.J. Reynolds. This court accepted this case because the Fifth DCA decision conflicts with other appellate court decisions.

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