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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.).



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.).