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$16 Million Interest In Tobacco Award

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File photo of a cigarette in an ash tray. (Patrik Stollarz.AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a cigarette in an ash tray. (Patrik Stollarz.AFP/Getty Images)

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JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN, Associated Press

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ A federal judge has awarded nearly $16 million in interest to a smoker who already had won $12 million against a tobacco company in the first such jury award in New England.

Judge Stefano Underhill awarded about $15.7 million to Barbara Izzarelli, a Norwich resident who developed larynx cancer. She had won her case against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

Underhill rejected claims by R.J. Reynolds that the interest was excessive. He says interest is mandatory under the law and is designed to encourage defendants to accept reasonable settlement offers.

Izzarelli’s attorney, David Golub, says his side had offered to settle for $400,000. The interest dates back to 1999 when the lawsuit was filed.

Telephone messages were left Thursday for a company spokesman and attorney.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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