MIAMI — In a May 25 order, U.S. Judge Kenneth A. Marra of the Southern District of Florida declined a joint request by attorneys for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and the widower of a smoker that the court retain jurisdiction to enforce the terms of their settlement of wrongful death claims (Herbert Potish, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Lena Potish, v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 15-81171, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89211).
SARASOTA, Fla. — An Engle progeny case ended May 23 in a defense verdict, when jurors empaneled in the 12th Judicial Circuit Court for Sarasota County, Fla., answered “no” to the question of whether a plaintiff was addicted to smoking and whether smoking was the legal cause of his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema (John Joseph Damiano Jr. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2011-CA-000450-NC, Fla. Cir., 12th Jud., Sarasota Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a May 24 memorandum, a District of Columbia federal judge turned away a publisher’s request that the court compel tobacco manufacturers to reimburse The Little Rock Sun Community Newspaper for costs associated with printing court-approved corrective advertising (United States, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 99-2496, D. D.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86967).
SARASOTA, Fla. — A Florida jury on May 22 returned a verdict against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc., deeming the tobacco companies primarily responsible for the lung cancer death of Edward “Fred” Theis; one day later, on May 23, the jury awarded his widow $14 million in punitive damages (Faye Theis v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2011-CA-001941-NC, Fla. 12th Jud. Cir., Sarasota Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
PHILADELPHIA — Efforts by a Pennsylvania man suffering from emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to sue, personally, the president and chief executives of three tobacco companies were dismissed May 21 by a Pennsylvania federal judge (Ted. A. McCracken v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 17-4495, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84573).
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Asserting violations of the New Jersey Product Liability Act (NJPLA), negligence and other torts, a New Jersey man who suffered burns when his vaping device exploded in the pockets of his pants filed suit in the Middlesex County Superior Court on May 18 (Jesse Kelly, Jr. v. I South Vape LLC, et al., No. MID-L-003092-18, N.J .Super., Middlesex Co.).
LAKELAND, Fla. — In a May 18 per curiam ruling, the Second District Florida Court of Appeal left intact an $8 million award rendered by jurors in May 2016 on behalf of the family of a deceased smoker, just over one week after hearing oral arguments in the Engle progeny case (James C. McCabe v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2D17-797, Fla. App. 2nd Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 6947).
MIAMI — In a May 15 order, a Florida state court judge granted a plaintiff leave to amend his Engle progeny complaint in order to add a claim for punitive damages against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc., rejecting the tobacco companies’ assertion that such an amendment would be premature (Michael Jordan Lipp, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 17-018509-CA-10, Fla. 11th Jud Cir. Miami-Dade Co.).
SHREVEPORT, La. — In a May 11 holding, a Louisiana federal judge found that a plaintiff alleging violations of the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act (LUTPA) by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJR) does not lack standing under the statute but failed to bring its claim within the applicable one-year limitations period (Caldwell Wholesale Company LLC v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, No. 17-200, W.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81080).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In a May 14 jurisdictional brief, an appellant tells the Florida Supreme Court that he was erroneously denied an opportunity to file an amended complaint against two tobacco companies after the trial court deemed the case a legal nullity, upon learning that the original named plaintiff died before her complaint could be filed (Raymond Staines v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc., No. SC18-628, Fla. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a 70-page summary judgment issued May 15, a District of Columbia federal judge confirmed as constitutional the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s May 2016 “Deeming” and “User Fee” Rules, finding only one provision relating to in-store blending of pipe tobacco in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (Cigar Association of America Inc., et al. v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 16-1460, D. D.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81101).
LAKELAND, Fla. — In a May 7 answer brief, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. tells the Second District Florida Court of Appeal that a Pinellas County trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying a motion to vacate an earlier dismissal for lack of prosecution because a plaintiff disregarded procedures to avoid dismissal during a “standstill agreement” in the underlying wrongful death case (Estella Purdue v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2D18-0333, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.).
NEW YORK — In an April 23 reply brief, United Parcel Service tells the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that the state of New York and New York City, in a February brief defending their $247 million award for UPS’s delivery of untaxed cigarettes, rely only on “rhetoric and invective” (New York, et al. v. United Parcel Service, No. 17-1993, 2nd Cir.).
ATLANTA — An attorney for S&M Brands Inc. on April 17 told the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) is “skewed to benefit participating manufacturers,” as evidenced by a recent change to Georgia’s Model Escrow Agreement (MEA) that limits “permitted investments” for nonparticipating manufacturers (NPMs) (S&M Brands Inc. v. State of Georgia ex rel. Christopher M. Carr, No. 17-13261, 11th Cir.).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In a verdict rendered April 20, a jury in the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court for Duval County, Fla., awarded an Engle progeny plaintiff $375,000 in damages but deemed her 90 percent at fault for her chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (Myra Rozar v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2008-CA-15000, Fla. Cir., 4th Jud., Duval Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
DADE CITY, Fla. — In an April 18 filing, counsel for a 76-year-old plaintiff who in February won $24 million in an Engle progeny suit requested a hearing date on R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.’s renewed motion for a directed verdict “as soon as humanly possible” (Rosemarie Graffeo v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2016CA000233, Fla. Cir., 6th Jud., Pasco Co.).
TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas Court of Appeals on April 30 received notice that the city of Topeka. intends to appeal a March 22 holding by the Shawnee County District Court that struck down a city ordinance raising the minimum age for tobacco purchases from 18 to 21 (DWAGFYS Manufacturing Inc., et al. v. Topeka, No. 2018CV35, Kan. Dist., Shawnee Co.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — In a May 9 ruling, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal rejected efforts by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. to undo a $20 million punitive damage award issued by jurors to the widower of a smoker who died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Alan Konzelman, No. 4D16-4310, Fla App., 4th Dist.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A planned four-week trial in an Engle progeny case ended in a mistrial April 13, when R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc. successfully moved to strike a juror for his “inability to understand English” (Myron Kaplan v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, et al., No. 08-80000 (19), Fla. Cir., Broward Co., 17th Jud. Dist.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal judge did not err in rejecting assertions by an e-cigarette manufacturer that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should have taken a different approach to the premarket review of new e-cigarettes, the agency tells the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a May 2 brief (Nicopure Labs LLC v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, No. 17-5196, D.C. Cir.).