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LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Tobacco Legal News



Headline Tobacco Legal News from LexisNexis®



 



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.).



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.).