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Smokers, tobacco firms to meet in court again

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Cigarettes Cheap Attorneys for Louisiana smokers and the nation's biggest tobacco companies will square off in a hearing today on a case that made headlinesCheap Cigarettes Online in 2004 when a Civil District Court jury ruled that the firms should pay $519 million to help Louisianians kick the smoking habit for conspiring to mislead the public about tobacco's effects.Cheap Cigarettes sale Retired Civil District Judge Richard Ganucheau, who presided over the trial that led to the jury's verdict, scheduled the hearing to help him decide where the two sides in the case stand in light of a state appeals court's move last fall to slash the jury award to $279 million.Newport Cigarettes The 4th Circuit Court of Appeal ruling, which the state and U.S. Supreme Courts have let stand, also limited participation in the smoking cessation programs the jury ordered to people whose claims for such assistance accrued before Sept. 1, 1988, the effective date of the Louisiana products liability act.Marlboro Cigarettes In its verdict, the jury found that cigarettes are not defective products as defined by that law. Unless a product is deemed defective according to one of several standards set out in the statute, the product's manufacturer can't be held liable for damage it causes.555 Cigarettes Attorneys for the plaintiff class will ask Ganucheau to order the tobacco companies to explain why they haven't put $279 million, plus interest, into a court account to pay for stop-smoking assistance. As an alternative, they suggest that Ganucheau order the two sides to tell him how much less the tobacco firms would owe if they didn't have to pay for smoking cessation programs for post-1988 smokers.Camel Cigarettes The tobacco firms' lawyers insist their clients owe the plaintiffs nothing and the case should be thrown out because there is no jury finding or evidence in the record to establish that any claims accrued before the 1988 liability cutoff. The only remaining claims, those that accrued after Sept. 1, 1988, are those for which the 4th Circuit has ruled the companies aren't liable, the companies say.Pall Mall Cigarettes

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