In R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Townsend, No. 1D10-4585, 2012 WL 447282 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Feb. 14, 2012), a deceased smoker’s personal representative sued the Tobacco company defendant in a Florida state court, seeking damages arising out of the smoker’s death.  The jury awarded $10.8 million in compensatory damages (which was reduced to $5.5 million due to the smoker’s comparative negligence), and $80 million in punitive damages, which was reduced to $40.8 million.  The Tobacco company appealed, arguing the damages were excessive.  The appellate court affirmed the compensatory award, but vacated the punitive damages, finding them to be constitutionally excessive.  While the ratio between punitive and compensatory damages was lower than ratios upheld in other cases, and there was no risk that the award would cause defendant “financial ruin,” the court rejected the punitive award because it was “significantly higher than any other damage awards approved by a Florida appellate court in a case involving the death of a single smoker.”  The court further found that the $10.8 million compensatory damage award – “which is substantial by any measure” – justified a lower punitive damages ratio than that awarded by the jury.