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    Tobacco Suit Nears End

    California smoker to take lower Philip Morris damages.

    The California Marlboro smoker who won a record $3 billion verdict against New York-based Philip Morris Cos. Inc. in a fraud lawsuit has agreed to accept the much lower $100 million damage award set by the judge in the case earlier this month.

    "On August 15, his 57th birthday, Richard Boeken, agreed to accept $100 million in punitive/exemplary damages rather than partially retry his case," lawyer Michael Piuze said in a statement.

    Superior Court Judge Charles McCoy said that after considering the potential for future damage awards, the original verdict was too high. If Boeken, who is dying of lung cancer, chose not to accept the $100 million, the judge said he would grant a new trial solely on the issue of punitive damages, Reuters reported.

    In June, a jury in Los Angeles found Philip Morris liable for concealing the health dangers of cigarettes and awarded Boeken $5.5 million in compensatory damages and $3 billion in punitive damages.

    Philip Morris has vowed to appeal the verdict regardless of whether Boeken accepted the lower award.

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