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LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Tobacco Legal News
Headline Tobacco Legal News from LexisNexis®
Florida Appellate Panel Vacates $20 Million Tobacco Verdict
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on Nov. 30 vacated a $20 million verdict awarded to the estate of a woman following a trial in an Engle progeny suit after finding that the damages awarded by the jury were excessive (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Gwendolyn E. Odom, No. 4D14-3867, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 17713).
Jury Awards $10 Million In Engle Progeny Suit To Woman With COPD
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida jury on Nov. 15 awarded a woman found to have developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) $6 million in punitive damages, bringing the total award in her Engle progeny suit against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc. to $10 million (Mary Howles v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2007-CV-034919, Fla. Cir., 17th Jud., Broward Co.).
Florida Appellate Panel Remands Engle Suit To Disqualify Plaintiff's Attorney
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on Dec. 7 found that a trial court erred in denying Philip Morris USA Inc.'s motion to dismiss the law firm representing her because one of her attorneys previously represented Philip Morris in similar lawsuits, which prevents him from being the plaintiff's attorney under Florida law (Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Ada Caro, No. 4D16-2416, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 18077).
Florida Jury Awards More Than $6 Million In Tobacco Suit
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida state jury on Nov. 18 awarded $650,000 in punitive damages to a widower, bringing the total amount of damages in the Engle progeny trial to more than $6 million (Stanley Martin v. Philip Morris Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2007-CV-036440, Fla. 17th Jud. Cir., Broward Co.).
Ohio Court Finds Tobacco Use A Fact Question, Rejects Need For Medical Report
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Whether an asbestos plaintiff claiming lung cancer uses tobacco is a factual determination for a court and does not require a report from a competent medical authority, an Ohio appellate court held Nov. 17 (Bobby Turner, et al. v. CertainTeed Corp., et al., No. 103475, Ohio App., 8th Dist.; 2016 Ohio App. LEXIS 4647).
Judge Rejects Tobacco Risk Assumption, Contribution Defenses In Asbestos Case
BALTIMORE - Knowledge regarding the link between tobacco and lung cancer or the synergistic effects of tobacco and asbestos on the disease were not widely enough known to support defendants' assumption of risk and contributory negligence defenses, a Maryland judge held Nov. 7 (In re: Baltimore City Asbestos Litigation, Henry Boston, et al. v. ACandS Inc., et al., No. 24-X-16000054, Md. Cir., Baltimore City).
Maryland Judge Dismisses Negligence Suit Against Asbestos Manufacturer
BALTIMORE - A Maryland judge on Nov. 16 granted a defense motion for summary judgment and dismissed a suit claiming that five workers were never warned that smoking cigarettes while working with asbestos can lead to lung cancer (James Harrell, et al. v. ACandS Inc., et al., No. 24X16000053, Md. Cir., Baltimore Co.).
Massachusetts Woman Claims Negligence Against Tobacco Companies In State Court
BOSTON - A woman who developed lung cancer after years of smoking filed suit in Massachusetts state court on Dec. 9, claiming that the cigarettes she smoked were unreasonably dangerous and should not have been sold (Marie Kovatsi v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, et al., No. 1684CV03779, Mass. Super., Suffolk Co.).
Insurance Company Seeks Declaratory Judgment Against Tobacco Shop
SPOKANE, Wash. - An insurance company on Dec. 1 filed suit in Washington federal court, claiming that it does not have a responsibility to defend a tobacco shop in a lawsuit because the insurance policy does not cover bodily harm (Atlantic Casualty Insurance Company v. Lilac City Vapor LLC, et al., No. 2:16-cv-00422, E.D. Wash.).
Untaxed Cigarette Verdict Will Come Out In The New Year
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Dec. 9 said she will not render a verdict in a bench trial over untaxed cigarettes until the new year (The State of New York, et al. v. United Parcel Service Inc., No. 15-cv-1136, S.D. N.Y.).
FDA Issues Warning Letters To 4 Tobacco Companies
WASHINGTON D.C. - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Dec. 9 issued warning letters to four tobacco manufacturers for allegedly violating the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, according to a press release.
Florida Jury Awards $21.5 Million To Widow Of Smoker In Tobacco Suit
SARASOTA, Fla. - A Florida jury on Nov. 3 awarded $14 million in punitive damages to a woman whose husband died from cancer caused by smoking, bringing the total amount of damages in the Engle progeny suit to more than $21 million (Barbara Johnston v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2014-CA-004023, Fla. 12th Jud. Cir., Sarasota Co.).
Florida Jury Awards $20 Million In Punitives In Tobacco Trial
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida jury on Oct. 25 awarded $20 million in punitive damages to the husband of a woman who died after developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from smoking cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in an Engle progeny trial (Alan Konzelman v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2008-CV-019620, Fla. Cir., 17th Jud. Cir., Broward Co.).
Jury Awards $4 Million In Engle Progeny Suit To Woman With COPD
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida state court jury on Nov. 14 awarded $4 million to a woman who developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) after finding that she developed the disease by smoking cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc. (Mary Howles v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2007-CV-034919, Fla. Cir., 17th Jud., Broward Co.).
Florida Jury Unable To Reach Verdict In Tobacco Trial
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A Florida jury in an Engle progeny case was unable to reach an agreement on whether a woman who died from lung cancer was addicted to cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., and the judge declared a mistrial on Nov. 1 (John Maloney v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 07-CA-015578, Fla. 20th Jud. Cir., Lee Co.).
Florida Jury Finds For Defense In Tobacco Suit
NAPLES, Fla. - A Florida jury on Nov. 14 found in favor of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in an Engle progeny suit, determining that a woman knew or should have known that she had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) before the cutoff date to file an Engle progeny suit (Patricia Kloppenburg v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 1006472CA, Fla. 20th Jud. Cir. Collier Co.).
Libertarian Think Tank, Consumer Group Say Vaping Is Not Smoking
WASHINGTON D.C. - A libertarian-leaning think tank and a consumer group that are seeking to allow airplane passengers to use e-cigarettes and vaping devices say in a Nov. 4 reply brief to the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that part of the reason the use of e-cigarettes should be allowed on airplanes is because the use of e-cigarettes is not the same as smoking and the U.S. Department of Transportation's definition of vaping as smoking is unauthorized (Competitive Enterprise Institute, et al. v. United States Department of Transportation, et al., No.16-1128, D.C. Cir.).
Federal Judge Dismisses Complaint Seeking 'R' Ratings For Tobacco Depiction
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Nov. 10 granted a motion to dismiss a complaint that sought to assign an "R" rating to any movie that depicts tobacco use because movies are "expressive works" and are entitled to protection under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Timothy Forsyth v. Motion Picture Association of America, et al., No. 16-CV-00935-RS, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156719).
Federal Judge: Tribe's Company Owes Government $6.4 Million In Assessments
YAKIMA, Wash. - A Native American tobacco company must pay the federal government more than $6.4 million in assessments under the Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform Act of 2004 (FETRA) that the company has not paid in the last four years, a Washington federal judge ruled Nov. 7 in awarding the government summary judgment on the amount owed (United States of America v. King Mountain Tobacco Co., Inc., No. 1:14-cv-03162, E.D. Wash.).
United States Claims Tobacco Company Owes $30,000 Under FERTA
STATESBORO, Ga. - The United States on Nov. 8 filed suit against the Southern Tobacco Co. in federal court in Georgia alleging that it violated the Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform Act of 2004 (FERTA) by failing to pay up to $30,000 in assessments (United States of America v. Southern Tobacco Co., No. 6:16-cv-00152, S.D. Ga.).
Anti-Smoking Organization Seeks To Stop Sale Of 'Natural American Spirit' Cigarettes
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia-based anti-smoking group on Nov. 7 sued a cigarette maker and its parent company, claiming that they falsely advertise "Natural American Spirit" cigarettes as a healthier alternative to other cigarettes (Breathe DC v. Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. Inc., et al., No. 2016-CA-008136-B, D.C. Super.).
Tobacco Company Claims Breach Of Contract In Manufacturing Deal
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - A company that acted as the customer service liaison between two tobacco companies filed suit on Nov. 9 in a federal court in Georgia, claiming that it was cut out of a contract for no reason other than to be cut out of the deal with the other companies (Optima Tobacco Co. v. U.S. Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers Inc., et al., No. 16-CV-889, E.D. N.C.).
German Glass Pipe Maker Sues Florida Tobacco Store
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A German glass tobacco pipe maker on Nov. 4 sued a Florida tobacco shop in federal court in Florida, claiming that the shop sold counterfeit pipes (Sream Inc. v. Tobacco E. Cigs LLC, No. 0:16-cv-62624, S.D. Fla.).
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.).