NEW YORK — The United States filed suit on March 15 in the U.S. Court of International Trade, claiming that a Florida tobacco product importer has not paid more than $800,000 in federal excise taxes (FET) (The United States v. Mariola International Company, No. 17-00047, U.S. Int. Trade).
NEW YORK — A New York justice refused to impose a heeding presumption in an asbestos trial in an opinion posted March 20, saying that absent evidence that a cigarette user who ignored tobacco warnings would have acted differently in the asbestos context, she would not impose such a standard (Donna Castorina, et al. v. A.C.&S., et al., No. 123077/01, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
FRESNO, Calif. — A judge properly admitted expert testimony that every identifiable exposure to asbestos contributes to mesothelioma, a California appeals court held March 17, while also rejecting challenges involving tobacco use and an award of punitive damages (Charity Faith Phillips, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., No. F070761, Calif. App., 5th Dist.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — ITG Brands on Feb. 17 sued Reynolds American Inc. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJRT) (collectively the Reynolds defendants) in the Delaware Chancery Court, seeking an injunction that would force the Reynolds defendants to dismiss their complaint against ITG in Florida state court over the sale of four cigarette brands to ITG Brands in conjunction with the Reynolds defendants’ takeover of Lorillard Tobacco Co. ITG is seeking to resolve the claims in the Chancery Court (ITG Brands LLC v. Reynolds American Inc., et al., No. 2017-0129, Del. Chanc.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. on March 10 moved for a new trial in an Engle progeny suit that resulted in a $6 million verdict, saying that the plaintiff introduced surprising and previously undisclosed testimony that her deceased husband suffered a heart attack before Nov. 21, 1996, and that the jury form likely confused and misled the jury about the findings it was required to make regarding her husband’s membership in the Engle class (Blanche Fox v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 2008-CV-026348, Fla. 17th Jud. Cir. Broward Co.).
MIAMI — A Florida appellate panel on Feb. 22 affirmed a trial court’s grant of summary judgment to a tobacco company in an Engle progeny suit in an opinion without any explanation (Carmen Stagg v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co, et al., No. 3D16-157, Fla. App. 3rd Dist. Miami-Dade Co.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue on March 9 removed a suit in which it is accused of creating an overly broad list of e-cigarette and tobacco products under the Tobacco Products Act of Pennsylvania that are taxed to federal court in Pennsylvania because many of the claims are based in federal law (Kingdom Vapor, et al. v. Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, No. 3:02-at-06000, M.D. Pa.).
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Feb. 27 awarded a tobacco company $2.1 million in attorney fees in a suit brought by a tobacco company that alleged that another tobacco company violated the terms of a contract (Trendsettah USA Inc., et al. v. Swisher International Inc., No. 8:14-cv-01664, C.D. Calif., Southern Div.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida appellate panel majority on Feb. 24 affirmed an $18 million verdict in an Engle progeny suit after finding that the trial judge did not err in failing to dismiss a juror and in not reducing the total award (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. Andy R. Allen Sr., No. 1D15-4197, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 2536).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A plaintiff in an Engle progeny suit on March 8 moved for an extension of time to file a motion for a rehearing, certification, or a written opinion following an order from the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal that affirmed a defense verdict in a tobacco trial, according the online docket (Dorothy Haliburton v. R.J. Reynolds, No. 4D15-1819, Fla. App. 4th Dist.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Philip Morris USA Inc. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. on Feb. 27 filed a notice of appeal with Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal over an Engle progeny suit in which the jury awarded the plaintiff $6 million (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Stanley Martin, No. 4D17-574, Fla. App., 4th Dist..).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida appellate panel on Feb. 24 found that the attorneys for a woman who sued a tobacco company for the death of her husband made improper comments during closing arguments that violated a judge’s order and ordered a new trial (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Cynthia Robinson, No. 1D15-0989, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 2535).
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A Florida jury on Feb. 14 awarded a total of $5.4 million to a family after finding that two tobacco companies were responsible for a woman’s addiction to cigarettes, which led to her lung cancer and death (John Brown v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 15-002451-CI, Fla. 6th Jud. Cir. Pasco Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A widower of a woman who died from lung cancer filed suit in California state court on Feb. 8 against two tobacco companies, claiming that they knew about the dangers of smoking and did not warn the public about the dangers of smoking (Julian Engel v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 34-2017-00207704, Calif. Super., Sacramento Co.).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A man filed a product liability suit on Feb. 9 against a tobacco shop that sold him a vape and the makers of the vape and its parts after the device exploded and caused him to burn himself (Christopher Crowder v. Tobacco Expo, et al., No. RIC 1702394, Calif. Super., Riverside Co.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Supreme Court on Feb. 7 stayed a case in which a jury awarded $5.7 million in compensatory damages and $11.6 million in punitive damages to the widow of a longtime smoker who alleged that his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer were caused by his addiction to cigarettes manufactured by Philip Morris USA Inc. (Vickie McKeever, etc. v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., No. SC17-198, Fla. Sup.).
CHICAGO — An Illinois judge on Jan. 20 found that a new tax Chicago imposed on tobacco products other than cigarettes violates an Illinois state law and granted partial summary judgment to a group of tobacco stores who sued the city (Iwan Ries & Co., et al. v. City of Chicago, et al., No. 2016-L-050356, Ill. Cir., Cook Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Feb. 8 remanded a false advertising suit against Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. Inc. to a lower court after finding that it would be improper to consider the future brand value of its Natural American Spirit cigarettes when determining the cost of an injunction sought by an anti-smoking group and that the amount in controversy is not satisfied for federal jurisdiction (Breathe DC v. Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. Inc., et al., No. 1:16-cv-2378, D. D.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17562).
SEBRING, Fla. — A Florida state jury on Feb. 8 rendered a verdict in favor of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in an Engle progeny trial after it found that a woman who was addicted to cigarettes knew or should have known that she had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by the Engle claim cutoff date (Angela Durance v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 11-26-GCS, Fla. 10th Jud. Cir., Highlands Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
LEXINGTON, Ky. — A federal judge in Kentucky on Feb. 6 signed a final order canceling a trial scheduled for March following an $81,308.71 settlement between a group of Mexican migrant workers who claimed that the owners of farms they worked at underpaid them and violated federal labor laws (Cecillo Gutierrez-Morales, et al. v. Earl Lee Planck Jr., et al., No. 5:15-cv-158, E.D. Ky.).