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Court Backs Dismissal of Smoker Lawsuits

A federal appeals court has upheld the dismissal of 750 lawsuits filed against tobacco companies by a law firm representing Florida smokers and their families.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed Wednesday with a lower court that the cases were improperly filed after the smoker had died. The cases are among thousands filed in Florida after the state Supreme Court in 2006 tossed out a massive $145 billion class action case against cigarette makers.

The decision made it easier for sick smokers or their survivors to pursue lawsuits against tobacco companies without having to prove they knowingly sold dangerous products and hid the hazards of cigarette smoking.

Most of the dismissed lawsuits were for personal injury, which can't be claimed after a person's death.