JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Florida jury on Sept. 24 returned a defense verdict for tobacco company R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. after hearing that a man enjoyed smoking and never intended to quit. The jury found that cigarettes caused a man’s lung cancer but apportioned him 75 percent of the liability and awarded his estate no damages, sources told Mealey Publications (Robert Miller v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2008-CA-000401, Fla. 4th Cir., Duval Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
BOSTON — A Massachusetts jury on Sept. 26 awarded a woman $9,685,414 after hearing that Philip Morris designed its marketing to lure children into becoming lifelong customers, sources told Mealey Publications (Patricia Greene v. Philip Morris, No. 1581CV01808, Mass. Super., Middlesex Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
MIAMI — A Florida jury on Sept. 24 awarded $1.35 million to a man who claimed that he began smoking as a result of tobacco company misrepresentations, sources told Mealey’s Publications (Jorge Del Real v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No 2007-CA-032909, Fla. Cir., Dade Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — During oral arguments Oct. 8 before a Florida appellate panel, a lawyer representing R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Inc. denied that a trial lawyer committed a “gotcha” move during closing arguments of a trial that resulted in a defense verdict that was later reversed by the trial court judge, with a new trial awarded (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Phyllis Jones, No. 4D18-1132, Fla. App., 4th Dist.).
Litigation over vaping and e-cigarette products continues to heat up as school districts sue e-cigarette manufactures for costs associated with their students using the products and industry groups and states battle over regulations to limit use.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Trade Commission on Oct. 4 ordered six e-cigarette manufacturers to hand over data related to the sales and marketing practices of their products by Jan. 2.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Based on the application of state case law, a trial court did not err in compelling the state of New Mexico to arbitrate its dispute with tobacco manufacturers over nonparticipating manufacturers’ (NPM) adjustment to the tobacco master settlement agreement (MSA), a New Mexico Court of Appeals panel affirmed Sept. 25 (Hector H. Balderas v. Philip Morris, USA, Inc., et al., No. A-1-CA-36199, N.M. App., 2019 N.M. App. Unpub. LEXIS 382).
CHICAGO — A man’s lawsuit that alleges that he contracted laryngeal cancer from smoking cigarettes is headed back to an Illinois state court after a federal judge ruled that cigarette manufacturer defendants failed to prove that the smoker fraudulently joined retailer defendants (Martin Smith v. Philip Morris Inc., et al., No. 18-06397, N.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169092).
TAMPA, Fla. — In a blow to Sream Inc., exclusive licensee of the “RooR” trademark, a federal judge in Florida on Oct. 7 found that only a registrant or its assignee has standing to sue for infringement (RooR International B.V. et al., v. Good Timez III LLC et al., No. 19-439, M.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173283).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A chancellor of the Delaware Chancery Court on Sept. 23 denied cross-motions for partial judgment on the pleadings filed by cigarette manufacturers that are disputing which party is responsible for a $93 million judgment for unpaid settlement payments, finding that both parties’ reasonable interpretations of a contract would lead to different results (ITG Brands LLC v. Reynolds American Inc., et al., No. 2017-0129, Del. Chanc.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on Oct. 2 agreed to centralize 10 pending cases that allege that an e-cigarette maker created an addictive product that is deceptively marketed to children (In Re: Juul Labs, Inc., No. 2913, JPMDL).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A smoker who successfully sued R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. for injuries caused by cigarettes saw his motion for attorney fees based on a proposed settlement provisionally granted in a Sept. 25 per curiam opinion by a Florida appeals court (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Bush, No. 18-4043, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2019 Fla. App. LEXIS 14484).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida appeals court on Sept. 18 reversed a $7.1 million verdict awarded to a widower who claimed that Philip Morris USA Inc. concealed the harmfulness of smoking, which ultimately led to a woman’s lung cancer and death, remanding the case for a new trial (Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Michael Gentile, as personal representative of the estate of Brenda Gentile, No. 4D18-1439, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2019 Fla. App. LEXIS 14142).
BOSTON — A plaintiff told a Massachusetts jury on Sept. 5 that Philip Morris knew that teenagers were an important demographic for its cigarettes, chose to target them and was proud of how well its efforts worked. But the company said the plaintiff’s relatively short-term use of its cigarettes and her type of lung cancer suggest other causes of her disease (Patricia Greene v. Philip Morris, No. 1581CV01808, Mass. Super., Middlesex Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an Aug. 8 amended complaint, plaintiffs challenging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “Deeming Rule” added a new count seeking a declaration that the FDA’s subsequent 2017 Guidance, which extended compliance deadlines for premarket approval applications and substantial equivalence reports, remains “valid and in effect” (Cigar Association of America Inc., et al. v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 16-1460, D. D.C.).
MIAMI — A Florida jury on Aug. 23 returned a verdict for Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds, after hearing from their attorneys that the man knew of the dangers of tobacco, knew he had to quit and lectured family members not to start smoking cigarettes (Mark Fields v. Philip Morris, et al., No. 2008-CA-1274, Fla. 11th Jud. Cir., Dade Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Juul Labs Inc., the maker of a popular e-cigarette device that is facing at least 34 lawsuits all accusing the e-cigarette maker of creating an addictive product that is deceptively marketed to children, on Aug. 27 urged the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to transfer all cases to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (In Re: Juul Labs, Inc., No. 2913, JPMDL).
ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should reverse a former smoker’s fraud claims that were part of a $17 million judgment against the tobacco company and remand for a new trial on all other issues, Philip Morris USA Inc. argues in a reply brief filed Aug. 14 (Donna Brown v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., No. 15-13160, 11th Cir.).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Philip Morris USA Inc. on Sept. 13 saw three motions filed in a Florida federal court that attempted to reverse a $27 million verdict rejected, with the federal judge saying that “simply put: it is time for Philip Morris to pay the judgment. And [it] is time for its lawyers to tell it to do so” (Bernard Cote v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., No. 09-cv-14157, M.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156682).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — During opening statements on Sept. 12, a tobacco company asked a Florida jury to consider whether a man truly suffered from lung cancer, while the estate tasked the jury with deciding whether the man smoked cigarettes as a personal choice or because of the machinations of tobacco companies (Robert Miller v. R.J. Reynolds, No. 2008-CA-000401, Fla. 4th Jud. Cir., Duval Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.