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      RJ Reynolds vowing to fight $23.6B in damages

      File photo. (MGN)
      File photo. (MGN)
      MIAMI (AP) The nation's No. 2 cigarette maker is vowing to fight a jury verdict of $23.6 billion in Florida in punitive damages in a lawsuit filed by the widow of a longtime smoker who died of lung cancer.R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. executive J. Jeffery Raborn has called the damages awarded by a Pensacola jury "grossly excessive and impermissible under state and constitutional law."One of the attorneys for the widow, CynthiaRobinson, say the verdict Friday night sends a powerful message to tobacco companies.The case is one of thousands filed in Florida after the state Supreme Court in 2006 threw out a $145 billion class action verdict.Robinson individually sued Reynolds in 2008 on behalf of her late husband, Michael Johnson Sr., who died in 1996.