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Florida Appeals Panel Vacates $10 Million Engle Progeny Verdict
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - An appellate panel in Florida on Aug. 30 reversed a $10 million judgment awarded to the widow of a man who died from lung cancer because of his addiction to cigarettes after finding that the trial court erred by allowing the U.S. surgeon general's report on cigarettes into evidence (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Rose Pollari, No. 4D16-334, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 12470).



Florida Appeals Panel Affirms $33 Million Verdict In Tobacco Lawsuit
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on Aug. 16 affirmed a $33 million verdict in an Engle progeny suit after finding that the trial court engaged in the "genuineness inquiry" in overruling the tobacco companies' objections to prospective jurors (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. Linda Purdo Enochs, No. 4D16-2025, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 11791).



Florida Appeals Panel Affirms $14.3 Million Judgment In Engle Progeny Suit
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Second District Florida Court of Appeal panel on Sept. 15 affirmed a final judgment in favor of the surviving daughter of a woman who died from lung cancer caused by smoking after finding that an amendment to a Florida statute governing punitive damages did not apply to the case (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. Cindy Evers, No. 2D16-1603, Fla. App., 2nd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 13079).



Florida Jury Finds For Defense In Cigarette Addiction Trial
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - A Florida state court jury on Aug. 23 found in favor of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in an Engle progeny suit in which a woman claimed that her husband was addicted to cigarettes and that his lung cancer and death were the result of his addiction (Phyllis Jones v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2008-CA-0057, Fla. 19th Jud. Cir. Indian River Co.).



Engle Progeny Plaintiffs Ask Florida High Court To Deny Jurisdiction
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The plaintiffs in an Engle progeny suit that ended in a $32 million jury award asked the Florida Supreme Court on Aug. 18 to deny the tobacco companies' appeal over attorney fees because there is not a conflict between the Florida's Fourth District and Second District Courts of Appeal over whether a proposal for settlement must comply with the e-mail service requirements of Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 2.516 (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Richard Boatright, et al., No. SC17-897, Fla. Sup.).



9th Circuit Panel Affirms Dismissal Of Counterclaims In Tobacco Taxes Suit
SAN FRANCISCO - A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 29 upheld a district court decision to dismiss counterclaims against an Indian tribe in a tobacco tax lawsuit after finding that the counterclaims are barred by sovereign immunity (Quinault Indian Nation v. Mary Linda Pearson, No. 15-35263, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16510).



California Appeals Panel Affirms $3.75 Million Judgment Against Tobacco Company
LOS ANGELES - A California appellate court on Aug. 30 affirmed a $3.75 million verdict in a product defect and negligence suit against a tobacco company to the widow of a man who died from lung cancer after finding that the trial court did not err in excluding evidence of the man's exposure to asbestos (Tajie Major v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. B260355, Calif. App. 2nd Dist. 8th Div., 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 749).



Ohio Court To Define 'Smoker,' Medical Report Status In Asbestos-Lung Cancer Case
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio Supreme Court on Sept. 13 agreed to decide whether the state requires a medical expert to weigh in on whether a lung cancer plaintiff qualifies as a "smoker" or whether the law simply requires those already recognized as smokers to submit an opinion regarding the role asbestos played in their disease (Bobby Turner, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 17-0004, Ohio Sup.).



Judge Grants Vaping Company's Motion To Dismiss 2nd Amended Complaint
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Aug. 23 granted a vaping company's motion to dismiss a second amended complaint filed against it by a man who claims that the company failed to warn him and others that its vaping products emit cancer-causing chemicals because the claims are not properly pleaded (Jerod Harris v. R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company, No. 15-CV-04075, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135302).



Couple Sues Vaping Shop After E-Cigarette Battery Explodes
NEWARK, Del. - A man who was injured after a battery from his vaporizer exploded in his pocket filed suit on Aug. 11 in Delaware state court against the store from which he bought it, claiming that the store was negligent in selling him a defective product (Charles Hobbs, et al. v. Delaware Vapor LLC, No. N17C-08-287, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).



Federal Judge Grants Motion For Judgment In Hookah Patent Infringement Suit
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on Sept. 11 granted a hookah bowl maker's motion for default judgment against a hookah retailer and awarded the plaintiff $105,600 in damages, which includes attorney fees (Albert Kirakosian, et al. v. J&L Sunset Wholesale & Tobacco, et al., No. 2:16-cv-06097, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147715).



Regulatory Agencies Move To Dismiss Suit Over Cigarette Advertising
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Two regulatory agencies on Aug. 18 moved in Florida federal court to dismiss a complaint against them seeking to set aside a memorandum that allows a cigarette company to use the word "natural" in its advertisements because the plaintiff cannot show how the use of the word will harm him (Justin Sproule v. United States Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 9:17-cv-80709, S.D. Fla.).



Oklahoma Supreme Court Finds New Tobacco Tax Unconstitutional
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Aug. 10 found that a tobacco tax labeled as a "smoking cessation fee" is a revenue-raising tax because the money generated from it is being used to balance the state's budget and, therefore, that it should be stricken in its entirety (James P. Naifeh, et al. v. State of Oklahoma, et al., No. 116102, Okla. Sup.).



Mich. Appeals Panel Remands Tobacco Product Seizure Suit For Further Proceedings
DETROIT - A panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals on Aug. 1 reversed summary disposition for a tobacco seller and remanded the suit over the forfeiture and seizure of tobacco products to the trial court to determine if the forfeiture was proper (Value, Inc. v. Department of Treasury, No. 331581, Mich. App., 2017 Mich. App. LEXIS 1235).



N.J. Tax Court Judge Denies, Grants Summary Judgment Motions In Tobacco Tax Suit
TRENTON, N.J. - In an unpublished opinion, a New Jersey Tax Court judge on Aug. 9 found that a cigar wholesaler is not immune from a state tax on tobacco because it did not keep adequate records showing that it sold tobacco to an out-of-state buyer (Cigar Stop Inc. v. Director of the Division of Taxation, No. 015587-2014, N.J. Tax, 2017 N.J. Tax Unpub. LEXIS 46).



D.C. Circuit Court Upholds Ban Of Using E-Cigarettes On Planes
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals majority on July 21 upheld a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) rule that prohibits the use of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices on airplanes because the law banning the devices from planes benefits the health of the passengers (Competitive Enterprise Institute, et al. v. United States Department of Transportation, et al., No.16-1128, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 13112).



South Dakota Federal Judge Denies Motion To Amend Religious Tobacco Use Order
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - A federal judge in South Dakota on Aug. 9 denied a motion brought by a group of plaintiffs seeking to increase the amount of tobacco used in a religious mixture for Native American religious ceremonies in prison after finding that the amount the court already allowed was sufficient for religious ceremonies (Native American Council of Tribes, et al. v. Douglas Weber, et al., No. 4:09-CV-4182, D. S.D., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125754).



Florida Jury Awards $4 Million To Widow Of Smoker In Engle Progeny Suit
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - After finding that a man who died from laryngeal cancer was addicted to cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., a Florida jury on July 28 awarded his widow $4 million in damages (Bertie Thomas v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2007-CV-036432[19], Fla. 17th Jud. Cir. Broward Co.).



Florida Jury Finds For Defense In Engle Progeny Suit
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida jury on July 25 found in favor of Philip Morris USA Inc. after finding that a man who died from lung cancer was not addicted to cigarettes made by Philip Morris and that his lung cancer and death was not caused by an addiction to those cigarettes (Judith Pearson v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 2007-CA-017823, Fla. 13th Jud. Cir. Hillsborough Co.).



Florida Jury Awards $1.6 Million To Plaintiff In Retrial Of Engle Progeny Lawsuit
FORT MYERS, Fla. - In a retrial of an Engle progeny suit, a Florida jury on July 18 found that a woman's lung cancer and death were caused by her addiction to cigarettes and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s failure to warn her about the dangers of smoking and awarded her husband $1.65 million (John Maloney v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 07-CA-015578, Fla. 20th Jud. Cir., Lee Co.).



Florida Panel Partially Affirms, Reverses New Damages Trial In Tobacco Suit
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A panel of the First District Florida Court of Appeal on July 24 affirmed a trial court's decision to grant a new trial on noneconomic damages in an Engle progeny suit, but the panel split on reversing the trial court's decision to grant a new trial on punitive damages (Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Micah Danielson, No. 1D16-234, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 10603).



$13 Million Verdict For Deceased Smoker's Family Affirmed
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel in an Aug. 3 opinion without explanation affirmed a $13 million verdict for the family of a deceased woman in an Engle progeny case (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Vivian Turner, No. 4D16-2625, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 11300).



Dismissal Denied For Tobacco Product Distributor In Trademark Infringement Suit
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Aug. 7 denied a motion to dismiss brought by a counterdefendant in a tobacco product trademark infringement suit after finding that the court had jurisdiction over the counterclaims because the counterdefendant, which is based in California, has done business in Illinois (Republic Technologies, et al. v. BBK Tobacco & Foods, No. 16-CV-3401, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124673).



Candy Company Files Suit Against E-Cigarette Shop Over Trademark Infringement
CHICAGO - A candy company on July 13 filed suit in Illinois federal court against a tobacco shop, its holding company and its owner, claiming that the store has been using the candy company's trademarks and putting them on e-cigarette flavors it sells without the candy company's permission (WM. Wrigley Jr. Company v. Chi-Town Vapers LLC, et al., No. 17-CV-5185, N.D. Ill.).



Man Files Suit After Injury From E-Cigarette Battery Explosion
TACOMA, Wash. - A man filed suit in Washington state court on July 18, claiming that a battery he bought for his e-cigarette was defective and blew up while in his pocket, which caused second-degree burns on his right leg (Nathan Holdener v. Green Lake Inc., No. 17-2-09949-5, Wash. Super., Pierce Co.).



Florida Appeals Panel Reverses Defense Verdict In Tobacco Lawsuit
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on July 5 reversed a defense verdict for three tobacco companies in an Engle progeny suit after finding that the trial court erred in allowing a pulmonologist who was not qualified to testify on addiction to testify about the plaintiff's motivation to quit smoking (Fannie Collar v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 4D15-3893, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 9637).



Florida Appeals Panel Affirms Summary Judgment In Tobacco Lawsuit
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on June 21 affirmed a trial court's decision to grant summary judgment to a tobacco company in a wrongful death suit because a man who died from smoking-related diseases was not an Engle class member and, therefore, the woman representing his estate cannot be considered an Engle class member and she filed the suit after the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim had expired (Donna Fanali v. R.J. Reynolds, No. 4D16-67, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 8987).



Florida Appeals Panel Upholds $14 Million Tobacco Verdict
LAKELAND, Fla. - A panel of the Second District Florida Court of Appeal on July 14 affirmed a $14 million verdict in an Engle progeny suit without explanation and certified a conflict with another suit over comparative fault (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. Ina E. Ahrens, No. 2D16-1651, Fla. App., 2nd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 10146).



Tobacco Companies Petition Florida High Court Over Attorney Fees Decisions
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Two tobacco companies that were ordered to pay $32 million in damages following an Engle progeny suit petitioned the Florida Supreme Court on June 21 over a lower court ruling that they had to pay the plaintiffs' attorney fees because the lower court's decision created a conflict with the other state appellate courts (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Richard Boatright, et al., No. SC17-897, Fla. Sup.).



2nd Circuit Panel Orders New Trial Over Punitives In Tobacco Suit
NEW YORK - A panel of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 7 ordered a new trial on punitive damages only in a suit brought by a woman who claimed that a defect in her cigarettes caused her larynx cancer following a Connecticut Supreme Court decision that held that Connecticut's common-law rule, which limits punitive damages, does not apply to an award of statutory punitive damages (Barbara A. Izzarelli v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Nos. 11-3865, 113890, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12125).



Florida Appeals Panel Reinstates Full Verdict In Tobacco Death Suit
MIAMI - A Florida appellate panel on June 28 reversed a trial court's decision to hold a new trial against a tobacco company on a product liability claim because the jury instructions did not mislead the jury; the panel reinstated the full verdict (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Paul R. Larkin, et al., No. 3D16-910, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 9422).



Virgin Islands Judge Consolidates 2 Tobacco Suits
ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands - A Virgin Islands judge on July 10 ordered the consolidation of two separate wrongful death suits against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. for trial because they present nearly identical issues of law against the same defendant (Jevon Gerald v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. ST-10-CV-631, Christian Brown v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. ST-10-CV-692, Virgin Islands Super., St. Thomas, 2017 V.I. LEXIS 102).



Florida High Court Will Review Asbestos Causation Experts, Resulting $8M Award
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court agreed to decide the proper standard for admitting expert causation testimony in the state when on July 11 it accepted a case that originally resulted in an $8 million asbestos award against tobacco and gaskets companies (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182, Fla. Sup.).



Florida Federal Judge Dismisses Counterfeit Tobacco Pipe Lawsuit
MIAMI. - A federal judge in Florida on July 7 denied a glass-pipe maker's motion for default judgment in a copyright infringement suit and dismissed the suit without prejudice after finding that the plaintiff "lacks standing to pursue its federal claims" and the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction (Sream Inc. v. Mayasam, Inc., No. 16-cv-24825, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106100).



California AG Sues Canadian Tobacco Company For Illegal Cigarette Sales
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The California Office of Attorney General on July 7 filed suit against a Canadian tobacco company in California state court, claiming that the company illegally sold cigarettes in California and broke other state laws (People of the State of California v. Grand River Enterprises Six Nations LTD, No. 34-2017-00215131, Calif. Super., Sacramento Co.).