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Florida Appeals Panel Affirms Dismissal Of 73 Engle Progeny Suits
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A panel of the First District Florida Court of Appeal on Feb. 8 affirmed a lower court's decision to dismiss 73 Engle progeny suits filed by two law firms on behalf of deceased plaintiffs because "a dead person cannot file and maintain a lawsuit" (In Re 73 Engle-Related Cases, No. 1D16-2651, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 1819).



Florida Jury Awards $40.9 Million In Tobacco Lawsuit
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida jury on Feb. 5 awarded the family of a former smoker $27 million in punitive damages in an Engle progeny suit, bringing the total amount of damages to $40.9 million (Dawn Schlefstein v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2008-CV-022558, Fla. 17th Jud. Cir. Broward Co.).



Florida Appeals Panel Reinstates $2 Million Tobacco Verdict
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A panel of Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal on Feb. 14 affirmed a trial court's decision to allow a plaintiff's expert to testify and reinstated the full $2 million verdict in an Engle progeny suit after finding that the court erred by reducing the award based on comparative fault (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Robert A. Gore Sr., No. 4D15-3892, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 2274).



Former Smoker Seeks Reinstatement Of $20 Million Punitive Damages Award
ATLANTA - A former smoker who won a total of $26.5 million in an Engle progeny suit asked the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 2 to reinstate $20 million in punitive damages, saying the trial judge erred by revoking the damages (Judith Berger v. Philip Morris USA Inc., Nos. 15-15633, 16-10021, 16-15957, 11th Cir.).



Florida Supreme Court Declines To Review $18 Million Tobacco Verdict
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on Feb. 9 declined to review an $18 million verdict in an Engle progeny trial in which tobacco companies argued for a new trial because of the trial court's failure to dismiss a juror for prejudice against tobacco companies (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. Andy R. Allen Sr., No. SC17-2055, Fla. Sup., 2018 Fla. LEXIS 356).



Florida Appeals Panel Reverses Dismissal Of Engle Progeny Suit
MIAMI - A panel of the Third District Florida Court of Appeal on Feb. 14 found that a [ee]trial court erred in dismissing an Engle progeny suit because the 90-day period to substitute a plaintiff had been extinguished when the plaintiff's family filed a motion before an executor of the estate was named (Jerry Feller v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 3D16-2389, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 2160).



Florida Supreme Court Declines To Review $13.4 Million Tobacco Verdict
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on Jan. 23 declined to review a tobacco suit in which a jury awarded a widower and his daughter $13.4 million in damages over the death of his wife (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. Paul R. Larkin, et al., No. SC17-1712, Fla. Sup., 2018 Fla. LEXIS 133).



Florida Jury Awards Family Of Smoker $17.5 Million In Engle Progeny Suit
MIAMI - A Florida jury on Feb. 6 awarded the surviving family members of a smoker who died from lung cancer $10 million in punitive damages, bringing the total amount of damages to $17.5 million (Kenneth Gloger v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2011-CA-23377, Fla. 11th Jud. Cir. Miami-Dade Co.).



Judge Grants Directed Verdict For Defense In Tobacco Lawsuit
MIAMI - Following the closing arguments in an Engle progeny suit on Feb. 15, a judge in Florida state court granted a tobacco company's oral motion for directed verdict in a punitive damages-only trial (Joyce Hardin v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 07-46973-CA-22, Fla. 11th Jud. Cir. Miami-Dade Co.).



11th Circuit Panel Upholds $620,000 Verdict In Tobacco Lawsuit
ATLANTA - A panel of the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 25 found that a trial court did not err in an Engle progeny suit by denying a tobacco company's motion to reduce compensatory damages to the widower of a woman who died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (James Smith Sr. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 13-14316, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 1916).



Special Master Urges Court To Keep $9 Million Sanctions For Engle Cases
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A special master in an investigation to determine whether two law firms filed frivolous Engle progeny lawsuits told a panel of federal judges in Florida on Jan. 12 that the firms deserve the $9 million sanctions the panel imposed against them, calling the sanctions "modest" (In Re: Engle Cases, No. 3:09-cv-10000, M.D. Fla.).



Florida Jury Sides With Tobacco Company In Engle Progeny Suit
DELAND, Fla. - A jury in Florida on Jan. 24 found in favor of a tobacco company in an Engle progeny suit in which a woman claimed that her husband was addicted to cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and that his addiction was the cause of his oral cavity cancer and death (Dorothy Mae Kelsey v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2007 33215 CICI, Fla. 7th Jud. Cir., Volusia Co.).



Florida Appeals Panel Dismisses Engle Progeny Suit Because Of Dead Plaintiff
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A panel of the First District Florida Court of Appeals on Feb. 8 dismissed an Engle progeny suit because her attorneys did not have the legal authority to file and maintain a suit on behalf of a dead woman (Raymond Staines v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 1D16-2655, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 1817).



Michigan Appeals Panel Reverses Dismissal Of Tobacco License Suit
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - In an unpublished opinion issued Jan. 23, a panel of the Third District Michigan Court of Appeals ordered that a suit over a tobacco manufacturing license being revoked be remanded to a lower court for further proceedings because there is a still a question over whether a manufacturer without a license can be on a list of manufacturers who did not make a settlement with the state (Grand River Enterprises Six Nations LTD. v. Department of Treasury, et al., No. 335170, Mich. App., 3rd Dist., 2018 Mich. App. LEXIS 168).



Owner Of Tobacco Businesses Files Federal Lawsuit Against FDA
MINNEAPOLIS - A woman who owns several tobacco shops and businesses filed suit on Jan. 30 in a Minnesota federal court against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, claiming that the agency's deeming rule violates free speech (Jen Hoban, et al. v. Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 0:18-cv-00269, D. Minn.).



Man Injured By Exploding Vaporizer Files Suit In New York State Court
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A man who was injured after his vaporizer exploded while he was using it filed suit Jan. 5 in a New York state court against the store that sold the vaporizer to him, claiming that the store should have known the product was defective and that there was a possibility it could have exploded while he was using it (Owen Atkisson v. Village Vape Or Smoke Inc., No. E2018000130, N.Y. Sup. Monroe Co.).



Suit Filed In California State Court Over Exploding Vaping Device
ORANGE, Calif. - A man who was injured by a vaping device when it exploded in his face filed suit on Jan. 26 against the store that sold it to him, claiming that the store sold him a defective product (Gregory Gonta v. Tobacco Island, No. 2018-00969705, Calif. Super. Orange Co.).



Florida Appeals Panel Reverses $46.5 Million Award In Tobacco Suit
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A panel of the Fourth District Florida Court of Appeal on Dec. 13 reversed a $46.5 million award in an Engle progeny suit and ordered a new trial after finding that the trial court erred in allowing reports on smoking from the U.S. surgeon general because the reports constitute as hearsay (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Bettye Ryan, No. 4D16-1845, Fla. App., 4th Dist.).



Florida Appellate Panel Affirms New Trial Order In Tobacco Suit
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A majority of an appellate panel in Florida on Jan. 10 affirmed a trial court's decision to grant a tobacco company's motion for a new trial in an Engle progeny suit because the court cured its own error of dismissing 31 potential jurors without giving the defense the opportunity to question them (Heather Irimi v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 4D15-759, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 322).



U.S. Supreme Court Denies Cert In Engle Progeny Dispute
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 8 denied two tobacco companies' petition for a writ of certiorari and upheld a finding that using the original Engle findings in Engle progeny suits does not violate due process (R.J. Reynolds, et al. v. Theresa Graham, No. 17-415, U.S. Sup.).



Florida Appeals Panel Affirms Striking Of Tobacco Company's Addiction Expert
MIAMI - A panel of the Third District Florida Court of Appeal on Dec. 26 denied a tobacco company's writ for certiorari after finding that during a deposition, attorneys for the tobacco company made objections to try to coach the expert's testimony (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Barbara Morales, No. 3D17-2093, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS).



Florida Appeals Panel Reverses $4.5 Million Verdict In Tobacco Suit
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Jan. 10 reversed a $4.5 million verdict in an Engle progeny suit without explanation but ordered that a plaintiff who represents her mother's estate be able to file leave to add punitive damages (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Jacqueline Mechelle Blackwood, No. 4D16-897, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 309).



Tobacco Company Removes Engle Progeny Suit To Florida Federal Court
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A tobacco company being sued for product liability in Florida state court on Jan. 5 removed the suit to Florida federal court because the plaintiff in the state Engle progeny suit also has a pending Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which under federal law is an asset of the bankruptcy estate (David Walters v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 3:18-CV-75, M.D. Fla.).



Appeals Panel Quashes Order Disqualifying Firm In Tobacco Lawsuit
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A panel of the Fourth District Florida Court of Appeal on Jan. 10 quashed a trial court order that disqualified an Engle progeny plaintiff's attorneys because the trial court erred in finding that a previous appellate ruling in a similar case mandated disqualifying an attorney (Dolores Balaban v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 4D17-2479, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 321).



Appeals Panel Denies Petition To Quash Attorney Disqualification In Tobacco Suit
MIAMI - A panel of the Third District Florida Court of Appeal on Dec. 27 denied the request of two Engle progeny plaintiffs to quash an order from the trial court disqualifying their counsel because the firm representing them had an attorney who previously worked representing tobacco companies in similar suits and had access to previous trial strategies for Philip Morris USA Inc. (David Canta, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 3D17-1959, Fla. App. 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 19761).



Florida Judge Orders R.J. Reynolds To Continue To Make Tobacco Payments
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida state court judge on Dec. 27 ordered R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. to continue to make payments to Florida under the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) for three brands of cigarettes it sold to ITG Brands until the Delaware Chancery Court, which oversees issues arising from the sale agreement, is able to work out the details regarding which company is responsible to payments to Florida for the brands (State of Florida, et al. v. American Tobacco Company, et al., No. 95-CA-1466, Fla. 15th Jud. Cir., Palm Beach Co.).



Asbestos Company Says Ohio Law Requires Tobacco Users To Prove They Aren't Smokers
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Only by requiring those who use to tobacco products to submit medical reports indicating whether they qualify as "smokers" can Ohio courts give the General Assembly's choice of words meaning, a company told the Ohio Supreme Court on Dec. 22 (Bobby Turner, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 17-0004, Ohio Sup.).



Oral Arguments Set In Florida Asbestos Case Over Daubert Applicability
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on Jan. 5 said it would hear oral arguments in March in an asbestos case involving whether Daubert can be applied in Florida and whether expert testimony that every exposure to asbestos leads to mesothelioma satisfies whatever standard the state uses (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182, Fla. Sup.).



Cigar Shops Seek Injunction From Having Warning Labels On Packages
SHERMAN, Texas - Two cigar shops and a merchant association on Jan. 11 sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other government departments in a Texas federal court, claiming that the warning the organizations required on cigar packages would violate the First Amendment rights of the cigar sellers and merchants (En Fuego Tobacco Shop, et al. v. United States Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 4:18cv28, E.D. Texas).



New Hampshire Representatives Introduce Bill To Regulate Labels On Vaping Liquid
CONCORD, N.H. - A group of state representatives in New Hampshire on Jan. 3 introduced a bill to the New Hampshire House of Representatives that, if passed, would regulate how makers of e-vapor label their products.



9th Circuit Panel Affirms $900,000 Verdict In Cigarette Defect Suit
SAN FRANCISCO - A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 20 affirmed a $900,000 verdict in a product liability suit against a tobacco company after finding that the trial court did not err "in holding that issue preclusion foreclosed Philip Morris from relitigating whether its conduct caused Betty Bullock's lung cancer" (Jodie Bullock v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 16-55355, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 25940).



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.).