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Delaware Chancellor Sides With Sellers Of Tobacco Brands In State Settlement Suit
WILMINGTON, Del. - A chancellor of the Delaware Chancery Court on Nov. 30 granted R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Reynolds American Inc.'s motion for partial judgment on the pleadings against them after finding that their responsibility for reaching a settlement with Florida in the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) ended when they sold four cigarette brands to ITG Brands LLC (ITG Brands LLC v. Reynolds American Inc., et al., No. 2017-0129, Del. Chanc.).



Florida Jury Awards $1.2 Million To Widow Of Deceased Smoker
DELAND, Fla. - A Florida jury on Nov. 20 found that a tobacco company was negligent and that its cigarettes were defectively designed and awarded $1.2 million to the widow of a man who developed lung cancer after years of smoking (Kathleen Marie Quackenbush v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2007-12188-CIDL, Fla. 7th Jud. Cir., Volusia Co.).



Florida Jury Awards $806,000 To Plaintiff In Tobacco Suit
PENSACOLA, Fla. - A Florida jury on Dec. 7 awarded $225,000 in punitive damages to an Engle progeny plaintiff, bringing the total award to a widow whose husband died from coronary artery disease to $806,000 (Veda Bryant v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 2015-CA-001691, Fla. Cir., 1st Jud., Escambia Co.).



Law Firms Fight Back Against $9 Million Engle Suits Sanction
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The law firms accused of filing several frivolous Engle progeny actions in Florida state and federal courts and ordered to pay a $9 million sanction filed a motion on Nov. 11 to amend the order and reduce the amount of the sanctions (In Re: Engle Cases, No. 3:09-cv-10000, M.D. Fla.).



Florida Supreme Court Denies Petition For Review In Engle Progeny Suit
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on Dec. 4, without explanation, denied an Engle progeny plaintiff's petition for review in appealing a lower court's decision to vacate a $16.8 million verdict and grant a new trial in a tobacco suit (Cynthia Robinson v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. SC17-1130, Fla. Sup., 2017 Fla. LEXIS 2437).



Florida Judge Declares Mistrial In Engle Progeny Suit Against R.J. Reynolds
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A jury in an Engle progeny suit was unable to come to a verdict in Florida state court and a mistrial was granted in a tobacco suit in which a woman claimed that her mother's lung cancer and death were caused by her addiction to cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (Julie Adamson v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2016CA008532, Fla. 15th Jud. Cir., Palm Beach Co.).



R.J. Reynolds Seeks Review Of $12 Million Verdict In Tobacco Suit
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A tobacco company on Dec. 6 asked the Florida Supreme Court to review an Engle progeny case in which a lower appellate court affirmed the $12 million verdict without explanation but certified a conflict on the issue of comparative fault with another case that pending in the state Supreme Court (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. George Dion, No. SC17-2147, Fla. Sup.).



R.J. Reynolds Asks High Court To Resolve Causation Evidence Split In Tobacco Suit
WASHNGTON, D.C. - Following a ruling from the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. on Nov. 28 filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to review an Engle progeny suit because the Second Circuit created a split among the circuit courts over how the courts treat evidence produced by plaintiffs to prove causation (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. Barbara Izzarelli, No. 17-802, U.S. Sup.).



Engle Plaintiff Files Opposition To Petition For Writ Of Certiorari
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A plaintiff who won $2.75 million in an Engle progeny suit urges the U.S. Supreme Court in a Nov. 20 brief to deny a petition for writ of certiorari, arguing that the court has denied similar petitions in the past that had the exact same arguments and that the use of the Engle findings during the trial does not violate due process (R.J. Reynolds, et al. v. Theresa Graham, No. 17-415, U.S. Sup.).



Engle Progeny Plaintiff Files Notice Of Appeal Following Defense Verdict
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Following a defense verdict in an Engle progeny trial, a woman who sued on behalf of her deceased husband filed a notice of appeal with Florida's Fourth Appellate District Court on Dec. 4, saying the trial court erred in denying her motion for a new trial (Doris E. Shadd v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 4D17-3735, Fla. App., 4th Dist.).



Man Says Asbestos Law Doesn't Require Medical Opinion On 'Smoker' Status
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Requiring every asbestos lung cancer plaintiff who ever smoked tobacco to provide a medical expert opinion that the person doesn't qualify as a "smoker" would produce absurd results, burden nonsmokers and is at odds with a decade of precedent and the law's intent, a man told the Ohio Supreme Court Dec. 6 (Bobby Turner, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 17-0004, Ohio Sup.).



2 Law Firms Ordered To Pay $9.1 Million For Frivolous Engle Progeny Suits
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A panel of judges in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida on Oct. 18 ordered two law firms to pay $9.1 million in sanctions for filing 1,250 frivolous Engle progeny complaints (In Re: Engle Cases, No. 3:09-cv-10000, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172678).



Florida Jury Awards Widow Of Smoker $36 Million In Tobacco Suit
MELBOURNE, Fla. - A jury in Florida on Oct. 20 awarded a total of $36 million in damages in an Engle progeny suit in which a widow claimed that her husband was addicted to cigarettes made by two tobacco companies and that the addiction led to his lung cancer and death (Fontaine Wallace v. Philip Morris Inc., et al., No. 2014-CA-052862, Fla. 18th Jud. Cir. Brevard Co.).



Florida Appeals Panel Affirms $35 Million Verdict In Tobacco Trial
MIAMI - A panel of the Third District Florida Court of Appeal on Oct. 18 affirmed a $35 million verdict in an Engle progeny suit after finding that the trial court did not err in denying the tobacco companies' motion for a new trial based on improper comments during closing arguments and that it did not err in allowing the plaintiff to introduce evidence on the number of deaths smoking has caused (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Roland Ledoux, No. 3D16-675, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 14753).



Florida Appeals Panel Vacates $10.5 Million Verdict In Tobacco Suit
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A panel of the Fourth District of the Florida Court of Appeal on Nov. 8 found that a U.S. surgeon general's report that was admitted to the jury during an Engle progeny suit was hearsay and should not have been admitted as evidence and remanded the suit to the trial court for a new trial (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. John McCoy, No. 4D16-259, Fla. App. 4th Dist.).



R.J. Reynolds Seeks Supreme Court Review of $11.5 Million Tobacco Verdict
WASHINGTON, D.C. - R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. on Nov. 7 filed petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking a review of an $11.5 million verdict against the company in an Engle progeny suit and claiming that the 1965 Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, 15 U.S.C 1331-1341, preempts the findings of the Phase I Engle proceedings (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Florence Monroe, No. 17-675, U.S. Sup.).



Florida Appeals Panel Affirms $12 Million Verdict In Tobacco Suit
LAKELAND, Fla. - Without an explanation, a panel of the Second District Florida Court of Appeal on Nov. 8 affirmed a $12 million verdict, but certified a conflict with another Florida appellate court over the tobacco company's arguments on comparative fault (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. George J. Dion, No. 2d16-3632, Fla. App., 2nd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 16433).



R.J. Reynolds Seeks Supreme Court Review Of $13 Million Tobacco Verdict
WASHINGTON, D.C. - R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. on Oct. 30 filed a petition for writ of certiorari over a $13 million verdict in an Engle progeny suit, saying the court should review the case because "relieving plaintiffs of the burden of establishing essential elements of their tort claims violates due process" (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Vivian Turner, No. 17-638, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 4226).



Florida Jury Awards Widower More Than $100,000 In Tobacco Lawsuit
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Florida jury on Nov. 2 awarded the widower of a woman who died of laryngeal cancer $131,371 in damages in an Engle progeny suit after finding that her addiction to cigarettes made by Philip Morris USA Inc. was the cause of her cancer and death (Robert Douglas v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 2008-CA-000386, Fla. 4th Jud. Cir., Duval Co.).



Florida Appeals Panel Reverses Summary Judgment In Tobacco Lawsuit
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A panel of Florida's Fifth District Court of Appeals on Nov. 3 reversed a decision from a trial court to grant summary judgment to tobacco companies in an Engle progeny suit and ordered that an evidentiary hearing be held on whether the suit was filed before the statute of limitations expired (Desmond Mansfield v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No 5D16-1826, Fla. App. 5th Dist.).



Florida Appeals Panel Orders Tobacco Companies To Pay Attorney Fees
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A panel of the Fourth District Florida Court of Appeal on Oct. 25 reversed a trial court's order that denied an Engle progeny plaintiff's motion for attorney fees because the plaintiff was entitled to the fees under Florida law governing attorney fees (John McCoy v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 4D16-1378, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 15380).



Companies Want Daubert As Florida Law, Every Exposure Asbestos Testimony Rejected
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Two companies on Oct. 20 defended a ruling rejecting an $8 million judgment, telling the Florida Supreme Court that the state's Legislature is free to adopt the Daubert standard and that expert testimony that every exposure to asbestos leads to mesothelioma fails regardless of which standard the court applies (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182, Fla. Sup.).



Asbestos Law Mandates Medical Expert Weigh In On 'Smoker' Status, Company Says
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The law clearly requires those bringing asbestos-related lung cancer claims to submit a medical expert's opinion regarding whether the plaintiff qualifies as a smoker of tobacco products, language intended to prioritize asbestos lung cancer claims and insulate untrained judges from having to translate medical records, a company told the Ohio Supreme Court on Nov. 7 (Bobby Turner, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 17-0004, Ohio Sup.).



Patent Board Institutes Review Of Electronic Cigarette Patent
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - In an Oct. 23 ruling, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board announced that it will review the patentability of seven claims of an electronic cigarette patent but denied institution with regard to five others (R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co. v. Fontem Holdings 1 BV, No. IPR2017-01120, PTAB).



U.S. Supreme Court Declines To Review Tobacco Lawsuit
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 2 declined to hear arguments on an Engle progeny suit in which a Florida appellate panel vacated $54 million in punitive damages (Marvine Calloway v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 16-1507, U.S. Sup.).



11th Circuit Affirms Defense Verdict In Engle Progeny Suit
ATLANTA - An 11th Circuit Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 25 affirmed a verdict for a tobacco company in an Engle progeny suit after finding that the court did not err in instructing the jury on the company's statute-of-limitations defense (William Hecht v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, No. 16-10447, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 18452).



Magistrate Judge Orders Rolling Paper Documents To Be Turned Over For Discovery
CHICAGO - A magistrate judge in an Illinois federal court on Sept. 27 ordered a tobacco company to produce documents regarding the design of its rolling papers that are in the possession of one of its French subsidiaries in a trademark infringement countersuit after finding that French law does not entirely preempt the company making those documents available for discovery (Republic Technologies LLC, et al. v. BBK Tobacco & Foods LLP, No. 16 3401, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158986).



Pipe Maker Sues Tobacco Shop For Trademark Infringement
BATON ROUGE, La. - A glass pipe maker on Sept. 21 filed suit in Louisiana federal court, claiming that a tobacco shop sold counterfeit versions of its pipe and used its trademarked brand without its permission (SREAM Inc. v. Tine Forte Carville, No. 3:17-cv-00667, M.D. La.).



Florida Jury Awards $7.1 Million To Family In Wrongful Death Smoking Suit
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida state court jury on Oct. 10 awarded the widower of a woman more than $7 million after finding that Philip Morris USA Inc. engaged in a conspiracy to mislead the public about the dangers of smoking and that Philip Morris concealing the harmfulness of smoking ultimately led to a woman's lung cancer and death (Michael Gentile v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2015CA005405, Fla. 15th Jud. Cir., Palm Beach Co.).



Federal Judge Finds Tobacco Claim Not Barred By Statute Of Repose
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A federal judge in Connecticut on Sept. 25 denied a tobacco company's motion seeking an order that a plaintiff's claims regarding negligence before 1992 be barred because the plaintiff's claims fall within the "useful safe life" exception of Connecticut's statute of repose (Vincent J. Bifolck v. Philip Morris Inc., No. 3:06-cv-1768, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156172).



Florida Appeals Panel Affirms $34.6 Million Tobacco Verdict
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A panel of the First District Florida Court of Appeal on Oct. 11 affirmed a judge's decision to read a jury instruction in a tobacco trial after finding that there was not enough evidence to show that the instruction prejudiced a tobacco company (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Colette S. O'Hara, No. 1D15-5764, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 14233).



Tobacco Company Asks Florida Supreme Court To Review Tobacco Suit
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. on Oct. 2 filed a brief asking the Florida Supreme Court to review a lower appellate court's decision that reinstated a $13.4 million verdict in a tobacco lawsuit, saying the appellate court ruling conflicts with a prior ruling from Florida's Supreme Court, which states that "the definition of design defect best vindicates the purposes underlying the doctrine of strict liability" (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. Paul R. Larkin, et al., No. SC17-1712, Fla. Sup.).



Michigan Appeals Panel Affirms Summary Disposition In Cigarette Taxes Suit
LANSING, Mich. - A Michigan Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 26 affirmed a decision by the Michigan Tax Tribunal to grant summary disposition to the Michigan Department of Treasury after finding that a man who purchased a large quantity of cigarettes and later shipped them to a friend to be resold was personally liable for paying taxes on those cigarettes under Michigan's Tobacco Products Tax Act (TPTA) (Davor Vulic v. Department of Treasury, No. 333255, Mich. App., 2017 Mich. App. LEXIS 1513).



California Appeals Panel Affirms Penalty In Untaxed Cigarette Sales Suit
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A panel of the Third District California Court of Appeal on Sept. 28 found that a trial court did not err in imposing a $765,000 civil penalty against a man illegally selling cigarettes because federal law and sovereign immunity for Indian tribes do not preempt California's regulation and enforcement of law regarding cigarette sales (The People ex rel. Xavier Becerra v. Darren Paul Rose, No. C080546, Calif. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 6661).



Federal Judge Dismisses Some Counterclaims Against Tobacco Producer
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - A federal judge in North Carolina on Sept. 28 partially granted and partially denied a tobacco producer's motion to dismiss counterclaims of fraud and unfair and deceptive trade practices after finding that the man who filed the counterclaims did not allege sufficient facts to support those claims (Independent Warehouse v. Samuel Kim, No. 4:17-cv-49, E.D. N.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162630).



Man Tells Ohio High Court Expert Testimony Meets Causation Standard
CLEVELAND - An expert's testimony that asbestos and tobacco use both substantially contributed to a man's lung cancer easily meets Ohio's causation standard and does not require review, a man argues to the Ohio Supreme Court in a Sept. 27 brief (Kevin E. Howell v. Consolidated Rail Corp., et al., No. 2017-1207, Ohio Sup.).