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Mealey's Tobacco

  • June 17, 2019

    Florida High Court Told Jurisdiction, Consolidation Not Warranted In Engle Case

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Petitioner R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. “improperly presumes” that the Florida Supreme Court will accept jurisdiction of an Engle progeny case in which the cigarette maker was ordered to pay $20 million in punitive damages and “erroneously asserts” reasons the case should be consolidated with another Engle case for the high court to review, the personal representative of the estate of a smoker says in a May 15 opposition brief (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Sandra L. Mattson, etc., No. SC18-1550, Fla. Sup.).

  • June 17, 2019

    Petitioner Opposes Motion For Consolidation Of R.J. Reynolds Engle Cases In Florida

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — R.J. Reynolds’ motion seeking to consolidate a petition to the Florida Supreme Court in an Engle wrongful death action with the petition in another Engle case appears to be premature since a decision to review each matter is pending and “[t]he existence of jurisdiction in each case necessarily rises and falls on its own merits,” the widow of a smoker says in her June 12 brief arguing for denial of the motion (Mary E. Sheffield v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. SC19-601, Fla. Sup.).

  • June 17, 2019

    Philip Morris: Denial Of Motion For Judgment In Engle Case Demands Reversal

    ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should reverse a lower court’s denial of Philip Morris USA Inc.’s motion for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) because the plaintiff’s evidence was insufficient to establish reliance and legal causation elements of fraud claims, the company says in an April 24 brief supporting its appeal in a Florida Engle progeny case that resulted in a $17 million judgment against it (Donna Brown v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 15-13160, M.D. Fla.).

  • June 17, 2019

    U.S. Supreme Court Denies Petition Of Cigarette Wholesaler That Challenged Fine

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 17 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by a cigarette wholesaler seeking a ruling on whether its fine by the tax commissioner of West Virginia was unconstitutional and “grossly disproportionate” to its offense of unlawfully selling more than 12,000 packs of cigarettes (Ashland Specialty Co. Inc. v. Dale W. Steager, State Tax Commissioner of West Virginia, No. 18-1053, U.S. Sup.).

  • June 17, 2019

    West Virginia High Court Affirms Denial Of Motion To Reinstate Tobacco Case

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals on June 7 found that a lower court did not abuse its discretion when it denied a plaintiff’s motion to reinstate a two-decade-old tobacco personal injury case that became part of mass litigation, saying the plaintiff “did not take the steps necessary to become a proper party or prosecute the claim” (In re Tobacco Litigation [Jimmie Hieneman v. Brown & Williamson Holdings, Inc.], No. 18-0412, W.Va. Sup.; 2019 W.Va. LEXIS 286).

  • June 12, 2019

    R.J. Reynolds Settles Florida Wrongful Death Engle Case

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and the widow of a longtime cigarette smoker have settled a wrongful death action, a Florida judge said June 10 on what would have been the second day of testimony in their Engle progeny trial (Jeanette Powell, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2007CA011551, Fla. 4th Jud. Cir., Duval Co.).  VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.

  • June 12, 2019

    Massachusetts Jury Awards Smoker’s Family $17.5M In Wrongful Death Case

    LOWELL, Mass. — A Massachusetts jury awarded the family of a 58-year-old longtime smoker who died from lung cancer $6.31 million in compensatory damages on May 30 and $11,275,000 in punitive damages on May 31 in a wrongful death action against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (James Coyne v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 1681CV00266, Mass. Super., Middlesex Co.).  VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.

  • June 11, 2019

    11th Circuit Upholds Georgia’s Restrictions On Investments By Tobacco Escrow Funds

    ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 29 rejected federal constitutional challenges and state law claims challenging statutory changes to Georgia’s model escrow agreement for tobacco producers in affirming an order by a federal judge (S&M Brands, Inc. v. Georgia ex rel., No. 17-13261, 11th Cir.; 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 15870).

  • June 10, 2019

    Justices Deny Cert For Tribal Tobacco Company’s Challenge To Taxation

    WASHINGTON, D.C.  — An Indian tobacco company must pay federal excise taxes on its products, despite the language of an 1855 treaty, after the U.S. Supreme Court on June 10 denied the company’s petition for certiorari, letting stand a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision (King Mountain Tobacco Co., Inc. v. United States, No. 18-984, U.S. Sup.).

  • June 7, 2019

    JUUL Warns Of ‘Tremendous Risk’ Posed By Counterfeits

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The maker of “JUUL”-brand nicotine extract pods on June 4 filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against various alleged counterfeiters in Virginia federal court; the same day, Juul Labs Inc. (JLI) moved to seal its related request for a temporary restraining order (TRO), citing a “strong interest in preventing Defendants from discovering the existence of the suit” (Juul Labs Inc. v. Unincorporated Associations, No. 19-715, E.D. Va.).

  • June 4, 2019

    Federal Class Action Says Ecstacy Herbal Cigarettes Are As Dangerous As Tobacco

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Ecstacy herbal cigarettes are at least as dangerous as tobacco cigarettes, and the brand’s owner “subvert[s]” their health risks and promotes them as a healthy alternative to traditional cigarettes, a woman alleges in a product liability class action filed May 30 in Florida federal court (Jamie Reid, et al. v. Greenlane Holdings, Inc., No. 9:19-cv-80711-RLR, S.D. Fla.).

  • May 30, 2019

    Florida Jury Awards Son Of Smoker $1M In Punitive Damages In Engle Trial

    MIAMI — A Florida jury on May 17 awarded $1 million in punitive damages to a man who lost his mother to laryngeal cancer more than 15 years ago, a day after the same jury declined to award him any compensatory damages (Robert C. Moore v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CA-000858, Fla. 11th Cir., Dade Co.).  VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.

  • May 22, 2019

    Circuit Split On Taxing Tribal Tobacco Businesses Demands Cert, Justices Told

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling that an Indian tobacco company must pay federal excise taxes on its products, despite the language of an 1855 treaty, creates a split among the circuit courts that is much more entrenched and severe than the federal government asserts, the company tells the U.S. Supreme Court in a May 20 reply brief in its quest for certiorari (King Mountain Tobacco Co., Inc. v. United States, No. 18-984, U.S. Sup., 2019 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 1891).

  • May 20, 2019

    Maryland Federal Judge: FDA Abdicated Duty With 2017 Guidance

    BALTIMORE — A Maryland federal judge on May 15 agreed with various public health organizations that an August 2017 Guidance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — pursuant to which some newly deemed tobacco products can continue to be sold while awaiting their premarket review — runs afoul of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), (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 81652).

  • May 17, 2019

    North Carolina Sues Juul Maker Over Marketing E-Cigarettes To Teens

    DURHAM, N.C. — The state of North Carolina on May 15 sued e-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs Inc. in state court, contending that it violated the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act by focusing its marketing campaign at adolescents under 18 and misrepresented the dangers of the product (North Carolina v. Juul Labs Inc., No. n/a, N.C. Super., Durham Co.).

  • May 17, 2019

    Florida Judge Declares Mistrial In Engle Retrial After Plaintiff Dies

    VERO BEACH, Fla. — A Florida judge said she had no discretion in declaring a mistrial on May 13 in the retrial of a personal injury Engle case a day after the plaintiff died (Fannie Collar v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 31-2011-CA-000115, Fla. 19th Jud. Cir., Indian River Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.

  • May 16, 2019

    Following Phase 2, Florida Jury Awards $3.75M In Tobacco Trial

    TAMPA, Fla. — A Florida jury on May 14 awarded $500,000 in damages in a wrongful death action against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. maintained by two adult children of a Florida woman who died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); two days later, on May 16, plaintiffs in the case were awarded $3.25 million in punitive damages (Jannice Durrance Jones, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2008-CA-009036, Fla. 13th Jud. Cir., Hillsborough Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.

  • May 13, 2019

    Washington Woman Alleges E-Cigarette Battery Explosion, Fire Disfigured Her

    TACOMA, Wash. — A woman who claims that an e-cigarette battery exploded in her pocket and that the subsequent fire permanently disfigured her sued the retailer, distributors and manufacturers in a Washington court on April 29, seeking compensatory and punitive damages (Stephanie Galdarisi v. Vapor St8, et al., No. 19-2-07450-2, Wash. Super., Pierce Co.).

  • May 13, 2019

    Judge Disqualified in Engle Suit; He Had Been Counsel In 19 Tobacco Cases

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — R.J. Reynolds Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc. sufficiently alleged facts that reasonably created fear of not receiving a fair and impartial trial in an Engle progeny case where the judge has a history of being counsel for plaintiffs who sued the tobacco companies, a Florida appellate panel found in a May 6 per curiam opinion that ordered a new judge to be assigned to the case (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. Guy Cuddihee, No. 1D19-0385, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2019 Fla. App. LEXIS 6862).

  • May 9, 2019

    Florida High Court Asked To Review Engle Holding That Barred Surgeon General Reports

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A smoker’s widow in an amended brief on jurisdiction filed May 6 asked the Florida Supreme Court to review an appellate court finding that U.S. surgeon general reports on smoking are inadmissible as hearsay in reversing a $46.5 million award she had received in an Engle progeny suit and ordering a new trial (Bettye Ryan, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. SC18-37, Fla. Sup.).

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