(Reuters) – Liggett Group announced Wednesday that it would pay $110 million to settle thousands of Florida lawsuits accusing the tobacco company of concealing the dangers of smoking cigarettes.
The out-of-court settlement will resolve nearly 4,900 of the 5,300 lawsuits pending in Florida against Liggett and its parent company, Vector Group Ltd (VGR.N), according to the company’s statement. The agreement is expected to be finalized within 90 days, and will entail a lump-sum payment of $61 million, with the remaining $49 million being paid in installments over 15 years to the plaintiffs, the statement said.
Liggett and Vector are the first defendants to reach a broad agreement to end smoker lawsuits in Florida brought by former plaintiffs in a class action filed in 1994 against major tobacco companies. The class action group consisted of all Florida residents who said they or family members had been killed or injured as a result of tobacco-related medical conditions by 1996. In 2000, a jury awarded the plaintiffs $145 billion in damages.