HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that lawsuits against cigarette manufacturers aren’t prohibited by an exemption in liability law, bolstering the case of a Connecticut smoker who got cancer and won a $28 million judgment against a tobacco company.

The decision was released Monday. The court was asked to decide the issue by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, which is considering R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.’s appeal of the award.

Barbara Izzarelli, of Norwich, sued the Winston-Salem, North Carolina, company in 1999 after surviving laryngeal cancer. She smoked the company’s Salem Kings cigarettes for 25 years.

The lawsuit alleged R.J. Reynolds manipulated nicotine in cigarettes to get non-smokers addicted and smokers to smoke more.

R.J. Reynolds argues such lawsuits are barred by state liability law.