Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Tobacco Legal News
LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Tobacco Legal News
Headline Tobacco Legal News from LexisNexis®
U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review In Maryland MSA Arbitration Ruling
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 11 denied a petition for writ of certiorari from tobacco companies seeking a review on the reach of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and whether a Maryland appellate court erred by invalidating a multi-hundred-million-dollar arbitration award involving multiple states and a group of tobacco companies stemming from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al v. The State of Maryland, No. 15-1537, U.S. Sup.).
U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review Of Pennsylvania Tobacco MSA Ruling
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 11 denied a group of tobacco companies' petition for writ of certiorari to review a case involving the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) between a group of tobacco companies and states over whether the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts state law (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. 15-1299, U.S. Sup.).
Florida Appellate Panel Affirms Defense Verdict In Tobacco Suit
MIAMI - A Florida appellate panel on Oct.13 affirmed a defense verdict in an Engle progeny suit after finding that the trial judge did not err by including a question about Philip Morris USA Inc.'s fault on the verdict form over the plaintiff's objections (Jose Vila v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 3D15-1853, Fla. App. 3rd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 15126).
Florida Jury Awards $6.4 Million To Estate In Tobacco Suit
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Florida jury on Sept. 28 awarded the estate of a man who died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) $6.4 million after finding that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s role in a conspiracy among tobacco companies to hide the dangers of smoking led to the man's disease and death (Linda Prentice v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2008-CA-000386, Fla. 4th Jud. Cir. Duval Co.).
Florida Jury Finds For Defense In Tobacco Trial
MIAMI - A Florida jury on Sept. 22 issued a verdict in favor of Philip Morris USA Inc. in an Engle progeny suit after finding that a widow was unable to pursue claims against the tobacco company because her husband was not a citizen of Florida when his lung cancer manifested (Elsa Chacon v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 08-102-CA-09, Fla., 11th Jud. Cir., Dade Co.).
DOT Seeks To Keep Ban Of E-Cigarettes On Planes
WASHINGTON D.C. - The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on Oct. 7 asked the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reject a petition by a think tank and a e-cigarette association challenging its rule on banning e-cigarettes on airplanes, arguing that it is not unconstitutional and the ban protects passengers from the aerosol and other chemicals that are emitted from e-cigarettes (Competitive Enterprise Institute, et al. v. United States Department of Transportation, et al., No.16-1128, D.C. Cir.).
Health Groups File Suit Against FDA Over Tobacco Warning Labels
BOSTON - A group of health organizations on Oct. 4 filed suit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in federal court in Massachusetts claiming that the agency has not come up with a new graphic warning label for cigarette boxes and advertisements as it is required to do by law (American Academy of Pediatrics, et al. v. United States Food and Drug Administration, No. 1:16-cv-11985, D. Mass.).
California Federal Judge Dismisses Suit Against Vaping Company
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Sept. 30 dismissed with leave to amend the first amended complaint of a man who claims that a vaping company failed to warn consumers that carcinogens are emitted from its vaping products because the plaintiff did not meet the notification requirements of California's Proposition 65 (Jerod Harris v. R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company, No. 15-cv-04075-JD, N.D. Calif.).
Magistrate Judge Recommends $30,000 Award Against Tobacco Shop For Infringement
NEW YORK - A federal magistrate judge in New York on Oct. 11 recommended that $30,000 in statutory damages be awarded to a German glass pipe maker after it filed suit against a tobacco shop that allegedly sold counterfeit glass pipes because the shop knew the pipes were counterfeits but sold them anyway (Sream Inc. v. 752 Tobacco Candy Inc., No. 15-CV-2904, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141668).
Glass Maker Sues Tobacco Shop For Allegedly Selling Counterfeit Products
LOS ANGELES - A German tobacco glass pipe maker on Oct. 11 filed suit in California federal court against a retail smoke shop, claiming that the shop has sold and continues to sell counterfeit products made by the pipe maker without its express permission (Sream Inc. v. MP Tobacco Inc., No. 5:16-cv-2143, C.D. Calif.).
Tobacco Company Moves To Vacate New Trial Order In Antitrust Suit
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A tobacco company on Oct. 10 cited a recent Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals opinion that held that refusal to deal is improper where the only purpose for it is to "obtain higher profits in the long run from the exclusion of competition" in its effort to get a California federal judge to vacate an order granting a new trial to a manufacturer of cigarillos in an antitrust suit (Trendsettah USA Inc., et al. v. Swisher International Inc., No. 8:14-cv-01664, C.D. Calif., Southern Div.).
Florida Supreme Court Denies Petition For Review Of Tobacco Suit
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on Aug. 30 denied an Engle progeny plaintiff's petition to hear a case where a $5.8 million verdict awarded to a smoker's widow was vacated and a new trial was ordered by a lower appellate court (Kathleen Gafney, as Personal Representative of the estate of Frank Eugene Gafney v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. SC16-693, Fla. Sup.; 2016 Fla. LEXIS 1943).
Florida Appellate Court Reinstates $5 Million In Punitives In Tobacco Suit
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Following the Florida Supreme Court decision in Hess v. Philip Morris USA, Inc. (175 So. 3d 687, 698 [Fla. 2015]) that held that defendants in Engle progeny suits may not rely on the Florida statute of repose as a defense, a Florida appellate panel on Aug. 31 reinstated $5 million in punitive damages to the family of a woman who died from lung cancer caused by smoking cigarettes (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Sharon Putney, Nos. 4D10-3606, 4D10-5244, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 13217).
Florida Appellate Panel Affirms New Trial For Tobacco Companies
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - An appellate panel in Florida on Sept. 7 affirmed a trial court's decision to grant a new trial to two tobacco companies in an Engle progeny suit because the plaintiff's lawyer made prejudicial statements to the jury in closing arguments (David Cohen v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 4D13-2681, Fla. App. 4th Dist.).
Florida Jury Renders Defense Verdict In Tobacco Trial
DELAND, Fla. - A Florida jury on Aug. 25 found that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. was not responsible for the heart disease, lung cancer and death of a deceased health department worker whose daughter filed suit against the tobacco company (Debra Coursey v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2013-30656 CICI, Fla. 7th Jud. Cir., Volusia Co.).
Florida Jury Finds For Defense In Tobacco Lawsuit
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida jury on Sept. 6 found in favor of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in an Engle progeny case in which a man claimed that his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was caused by smoking cigarettes made by the tobacco company (John Hackimer, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2014-CA-010849, Fla. Jud. Cir. 15th, Palm Beach Co.).
Tobacco Company Seeks To Stop 2nd Circuit Review Of Trafficking Claims
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A Native American-owned tobacco company on Sept. 2 asked a federal judge in New York to stop the State of New York from appealing the court's decision to dismiss trafficking claims against it (State of New York v. Mountain Tobacco Company, d/b/a King Mountain Tobacco Company, Inc., No. 12-cv-6276, E.D. N.Y).
New York Federal Judge Denies Motion For Sanctions In Untaxed Tobacco Suit
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Sept. 14 denied New York City and New York state's motion to impose sanctions on the attorneys representing United Parcel Service Inc. in a tobacco trafficking suit because the judge found that the city and state's failure to produce certain pieces of evidence during discovery was accidental (The State of New York, et al. v. United Parcel Service Inc., No. 15-cv-1136, S.D. N.Y.).
New York's Claims Against Indian Companies Fail, Magistrate Judge Says
BUFFALO, N.Y. - All claims by the State of New York alleging that two Indian enterprises are running a contraband cigarette ring that illegally brings millions of dollars' worth of cigarettes into New York from Canada should be dismissed because the state fails to plausibly allege that the companies violated federal laws, a federal magistrate judge recommended Aug. 30 (State of New York v. Grand River Enterprises Six Nations, Ltd., et al., No. 14-cv-910, W.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117801).
UPS Seeks To Exclude Evidence Of Damages In Cigarette Trafficking Suit
NEW YORK - United Parcel Service Inc. on Aug. 29 asked a federal judge in New York to bar the State of New York and New York City from presenting the amount of damages they are seeking against it in an upcoming cigarette trafficking trial (The State of New York, et al. v. United Parcel Service Inc., No. 15-cv-1136, S.D. N.Y.).
Maryland Opposes U.S. Supreme Court Review Of MSA Arbitration Ruling
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The State of Maryland on Sept. 8 filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court opposing a petition for writ of certiorari filed by a group of tobacco companies asking the high court to rule on the reach of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and whether a Maryland appellate court erred by invalidating a multi-hundred-million-dollar arbitration award involving multiple states and a group of tobacco companies stemming from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al v. The State of Maryland, No. 15-1537, U.S. Sup.; 2016 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 3274).
D.C. Circuit Denies Motion For Rehearing, Rehearing En Banc In Tobacco Sales Suit
WASHINGTON D.C. - The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 19 denied a former tobacco seller's motion for rehearing or rehearing en banc of a case where the court determined that the seller was not the original source of information that Philip Morris USA Inc. was price gouging cigarettes at U.S. military outposts and dismissed his complaint against the tobacco company (United States, Ex Rel. Anthony Oliver v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 15-7049, D.C. Cir.).
Florida Court Reverses $8M Verdict, Orders Retrial For Tobacco Defendant
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - After rejecting an expert's testimony that every exposure to asbestos substantially contributes to developing mesothelioma, a Florida appeals court on Sept. 14 granted a directed verdict to a gasket company and ordered a new trial for a tobacco company (Crane Co., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., and Hollingsworth & Vose Co. v. Richard DeLisle and Aline DeLisle, Nos. 4D13-4351, 4D14-146, Fla. App., 4th Dist.).
Florida Jury Awards $5 Million To Widow In Tobacco Suit
MIAMI - A Florida jury on Aug. 15 awarded the estate of a man who died from lung cancer as a result of smoking cigarettes $5 million in compensatory damages after finding that the deceased was a member of the Engle class (Hazel Mathis v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2007-CA-47118, Fla. Cir., 11th Jud. Cir., Dade Co.).
Florida Appellate Court Upholds $1.3 Million Judgment For Tobacco Plaintiff
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on Aug. 10 affirmed a $1.3 million verdict against two tobacco companies in an Engle progeny suit, saying the state law tort claims pursuant to the original Engle findings do not prohibit states from selling cigarettes (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. James Harris Lourie, No 2D14-5403, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.).
Federal Judge Denies Tobacco Plaintiff's Motion To Reinstate Punitives
MIAMI - A federal judge in Florida on Aug. 9 denied an Engle progeny plaintiff's motion seeking to reinstate $20 million in punitive damages because the issue the plaintiff raised on appeal is better suited for the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to rule on (Judith Berger v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 3:09-cv-14157, M.D. Fla.).
Mistrial Declared In Florida Tobacco Suit
MIAMI - After a "tragedy" came upon a juror in a tobacco product liability suit the morning before the jury was set to continue deliberations, a Florida judge on Aug. 5 declared a mistrial because there were not enough jurors to continue deliberations (Barbara Morales v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 07-16277-CA-04, Fla. Cir., 11th Jud. Cir., Dade Co.).
Florida Woman Files Engle Progeny Suit In Florida State Court
TAMPA, Fla. - A woman on Aug. 3 filed suit in Florida state court, claiming that two tobacco companies misled her about the dangers of smoking cigarettes, which caused her medical ailments (Betty Sue McDonald v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 16-CA-007249, Fla. Cir., 13th Jud. Cir., Hillsborough Co.).
Philip Morris Settles False Advertising Class Suit For $45 Million
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - On July 30, Philip Morris USA Inc. agreed to pay $45 million to a class of Arkansas smokers who claimed that the tobacco company falsely advertised the health effects of Marlboro Light cigarettes (Wayne Miner, et al. v. Philip Morris Companies Inc., No. CV03-4661, Ark. Cir., Pulaski Co.).
New York Federal Judge Grants Partial Judgment On RICO Claims For UPS
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Aug. 9 granted the United Parcel Service Inc.'s motion for partial summary judgment on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) claims brought against it by the State of New York and New York City because the plaintiffs have not presented enough evidence to show that UPS "participated in a RICO enterprise under governing precedent" by shipping untaxed cigarettes (The State of New York, et al. v. United Parcel Service Inc., No. 15-cv-1136, S.D. N.Y.).
Indian Cigarette Maker Wins Partial Victory On New York State's Claims
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A Native American cigarette manufacturer was awarded summary judgment July 21 in New York federal court on most federal cigarette tax claims filed against it by the State of New York but lost summary judgment on state law claims for failure to sell unstamped cigarettes to licensed stamping agents and failure to file annual manufacturing compliance certifications (State of New York v. Mountain Tobacco Company, d/b/a King Mountain Tobacco Company, Inc., No. 12-cv-6276, E.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95329).
Groups Ask D.C. Circuit Court To Lift E-Cigarette Ban On Flights
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A group of nonprofit organizations on Aug. 9 asked the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to dismiss a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) rule that bars airplane passengers from using e-cigarettes while flying, saying the rule is improper because the DOT acted arbitrarily in setting the rule and did not consult opposing studies (Competitive Enterprise Institute, et al. v. United States Department of Transportation, et al., No.16-1128, D.C. Cir.).
Philip Morris Opposes Rehearing For Dismissed Tobacco Sales Suit
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Philip Morris USA Inc. says in an Aug. 8 brief that the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should not grant a former tobacco seller's motion for rehearing or rehearing en banc of a case the panel already dismissed because the man who brought the suit is repeating arguments the panel already considered (United States, Ex Rel. Anthony Oliver v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 15-7049, D.C. Cir.).
Tobacco Company Says It Has Been Denied Discovery In Assessment Suit
SPOKANE, Wash. - A tobacco company says in an Aug. 2 response to a motion for summary judgment in Washington federal court that it should not be ordered to pay $6.3 million in statutory assessments and late fees under the Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform Act of 2004 (FERTA) because it has not been given the opportunity to see how the government arrived at the amount of the assessment (United States of America v. King Mountain Tobacco Co. Inc., No. 1:14-cv-03162-RMP, E.D. Wash.).
California Federal Judge Orders Couple To Stop Using Tobacco Trademark
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on Aug. 8 granted a motion for default judgment in favor of a hookah tobacco company that sued a couple who was using the company's trademarked brands and ordered the couple to pay $575,000 (Starbuzz Tobacco Inc. v. Issa Hilo, et al., No. SACV 16-0303 AG, C.D. Calif.).
R.J. Reynolds Seeks Inter Partes Review Of Electronic Cigarette Patent
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A patented electronic cigarette is not entitled to the filing date of a parent patent pursuant to rulings by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in ICU Medical, Inc. v. Alaris Medical Systems, Inc. (558 F.3d 1368 [Fed. Cir. 2009]), Research Corp. Techs. v. Microsoft Corp. (627 F.3d at 871-872 [Fed. Cir. 2010]) and Anascape v. Nintendo of America Inc. (601 F.3d at 1334, 1340 [Fed. Cir. 2010]), according to an Aug. 5 petition for inter partes review filed with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company v. Fontem Holdings I BV, No. IPR2016-01532, PTAB).