TAMPA, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on Aug. 8 agreed to defer all briefing in a lawsuit that accuses the maker of the popular e-cigarette Juul and its tobacco company investor of creating a youth electronic cigarette use epidemic pending a decision by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on whether the case will be transferred and consolidated into a suit pending in a California federal court (Erin NesSmith, et al. v. Juul Labs Inc., et al., No. 8:19-cv-00884, M.D. Fla.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California can enforce various state laws implementing a tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) on a federally chartered corporation owned by the Big Sandy Rancheria Band of Western Mono Indians, a federal judge ruled Aug. 13 in dismissing the corporation’s declaratory relief action (Big Sandy Rancheria Enterprises v. Xavier Becerra, et al., No. 1:18-cv-00958, E.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136741).
SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on Aug. 15 issued a proposed rule requiring new, graphic health warnings on cigarette packaging and advertisements.
BOSTON — A Massachusetts jury on Aug. 14 hit tobacco defendant Philip Morris Tobacco Co. with $11 million in compensatory damages and another $10 million in punitive damages after hearing testimony that the plaintiff started smoking when a company salesman handed him free packs of the product (Fred Laramie v. Philip Morris, No. 1784CV02240, Mass. Super., Suffolk Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A trial court judge did not abuse his discretion in delivering jury instructions and denying a motion for a new trial based on allegations of attorney misconduct, the widower of a smoker who was awarded $20 million in an Engle progeny case tells a Florida appellate court in a May 30 answer brief that includes a conditional cross-appeal (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. Herbert Landi, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Marion Landi, No. 4D18-2507, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2019 FL App. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 1350).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida jury hearing a retrial of a tobacco case against R.J. Reynolds on Aug. 1 cleared the company of liability for a woman’s lung cancer (Julie Adamson v. R.J. Reynolds, No. 2016CA008532, Fla. Cir., Palm Beach Co., 15th Jud. Cir.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
NEW YORK —A man’s testimony and experts create sufficient questions around whether asbestos and not tobacco use caused his stomach cancer, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Aug. 1 (Manfred Lauke, et al. v. Amchem Products Inc., et al., No. 190425/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A tribal-owned cigarette company sued the U.S. Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) in District of Columbia federal court July 24 seeking a permanent injunction and enforcement of a purported settlement agreement that would maintain its permit to manufacture tobacco products (Azuma Corp. v. United States Department of the Treasury Alcohol and Tobacco and Tax Trade Bureau, et al., No. 1:19-cv-02209, D. D.C.).
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A new trial is warranted in a case that saw a $24 million award against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. because the jury was not instructed to determine whether a smoker suffered from a disease that would qualify him as a member of the Engle class, the company says in a July 18 reply brief in a Florida appellate court (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Rosemarie C. Graffeo, No. 2D18-4007, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.).
MIAMI — A Florida jury on July 19 cleared R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. of a charge of conspiracy in the lung cancer death of a smoker (Ruiz, Narjol v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2008-000112-CA-01, Fla. 11th Cir., Dade Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Supreme Court on July 18 denied review of an intermediate appellate court’s finding that U.S. surgeon general reports on smoking were inadmissible as hearsay when it reversed a $46.5 million award against the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in an Engle progeny case (Bettye Ryan, etc. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. SC18-37, Fla. Sup., 2019 Fla. LEXIS 1271).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Noting the “extraordinary circumstances” of the rise in youth vaping, a federal judge in Maryland on July 11 ordered the Food and Drug Administration to enact a 10-month deadline for makers of e-cigarettes and other newly deemed tobacco products to submit applications for approval in order to keep their products on the market (American Academy of Pediatrics, et al. v. Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 8:18-CV-883, D. Md., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116003).
LAKELAND, Fla. — A smoker’s widow says in a May 31 answer brief that a Florida appellate court should affirm a trial court’s judgment “in all respects” in an Engle progeny case in which she was awarded $21 million, saying the tobacco company’s allegations of error by the trial court in its jury instructions and rulings on submission of evidence are insufficient (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. Faye Theis, No. 2D18-3348, Fla. App., 2nd Dist., 2019 FL App. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 919).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The First District Court of Appeal on July 8 issued a mandate closing a case in which it denied Philip Morris USA Inc.’s bid to reduce punitive damages imposed against it in an Engle progeny case and denied the company’s subsequent motion for certification of a question of great public importance (Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Veda Bryant, et al., No. 1D18-1053, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2019 Fla. App. LEXIS 10681).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — New Food and Drug Administration “warnings would make the Government the most prominent speaker on every cigar and pipe tobacco box and advertisement in the country,” the Cigar Association of America contends in a July 1 final reply brief to the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in support of its appeal seeking reversal of a federal court judgment and permanent relief from the warnings (Cigar Association of America, et al. v. Food & Drug Administration, et al., No. 18-5195, D.C. Cir.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida appellate panel on July 9 said a trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying a battery seller’s motion for new trial or remittitur in a case where a jury awarded more than $2 million to a man after an e-cigarette exploded in his mouth and he lost several teeth (R-L Sales, LLC v. J. Michael Hoce, No. 1D18-2298, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2019 Fla. App. LEXIS 10701).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Supreme Court on July 11 denied R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.’s petition seeking review of a Florida intermediate appellate court divided opinion that affirmed a final judgment of $21 million in compensatory damages against the tobacco company in an Engle progeny case (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Diane Schleider, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Andrew Schleider, No. 19-445, Fla. Sup., 2019 Fla. LEXIS 1216).
MIAMI — A Florida appellate panel on July 3 denied two tobacco companies’ petition for a writ of certiorari to quash an order that denied their motion to dismiss an Engle progeny case because a widow did not obtain counsel by court-ordered deadlines and because her husband’s estate did not move for a substitute plaintiff for him within the required time (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. Ray Lacey, No. 3D19-578, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2019 Fla. App. LEXIS 10596).
TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas Supreme Court on June 28 reversed a lower court ruling that struck down a Topeka ordinance that raised the minimum age for tobacco purchases from 18 to 21, saying the local legislation is constitutional under the city’s home rule power and does not conflict with state law (DWAGFYS Manufacturing, Inc. v. Topeka, Kansas, No. 119,269, Kan. Sup., 2019 Kan. LEXIS 111).
NEW ORLEANS — The continuing tort doctrine did not apply to unfair trade practice and tortious interference with business claims brought by a wholesale distributor in Louisiana against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. related to the tobacco company’s rebate payment system, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed July 10 in an unpublished opinion (Caldwell Wholesale Co. LLC v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 18-30707, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 20764).