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.).
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).
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).
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.) VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
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).
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.).
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.).
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).
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.).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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.).
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.).
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).
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.).
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).
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).