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One year ago: Howard Engle

July 22, 2010 |  7:00 am

Howard Engle, who died one year ago, was a pediatrician and a lifelong smoker who headed a class-action lawsuit against tobacco firms that in 2000 resulted in the largest punitive damage award in U.S. history.

The award, $145 billion, was later deemed excessive by the Florida Supreme Court and the previous verdict overturned. The court insisted that each of the thousands of smokers covered by the Engle case must prove their cases individually.

Engle's battle with tobacco began in his medical school years when he began smoking to mask the smell of the cadavers in the anatomy lab. Although he said he tried quitting "well over 100 times," he was never successful and ended up dying from smoking-related ailments.

For more, read Howard Engle's obituary from The Times.

-- Michael Farr

Photo: Howard Engle at his Miami Beach home Feb. 17, 2006. Credit: Marice Cohn Band / Miami Herald