TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A divided First District Florida Court of Appeal on April 18 upheld, without explanation, a $6.3 million verdict in favor of a widow, but the per curiam affirmance spawned a dissent that argued that Philip Morris USA Inc. is entitled to a new trial on allegations of wrongful death (Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Mary Brown, as personal representative of the Estate of Rayfield Brown, No. 1D15-2337, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 5193).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — In a two-page ruling issued April 25, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal — acting on remand by the Florida Supreme Court — reversed and remanded to the 17th Judicial Circuit Court for Broward County a decision that drastically reduced the amount of damages due to a lung cancer widower (Stephen Tognoli v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 4D16-224, Fla. App. 4th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 5745).
OMAHA, Neb. — In settling claims by the tobacco industry that it had not diligently enforced its escrow statute, the state of Nebraska accepted terms that “violate principles of federal Indian law, invade tribal sovereignty, discriminate against tribes, and illegally force tribes to comply with” the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), two plaintiffs assert in an April 20 complaint filed in Nebraska federal court (HCI Distribution Inc., et al., v. Douglas Peterson, et al., No. 18, D. Neb.).
MIAMI — A Florida judge abused his discretion in undoing a jury verdict that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. was not liable for the lung cancer death of a Florida man, the Third District Florida Court of Appeal ruled April 25 (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. Patsy Davis, No. 3D16-1994, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 5602).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — At a status conference before a District of Columbia federal judge April 25, the government and three cigarette manufacturers announced that an agreement has been reached on corrective statements, signaling a potential end to a longstanding dispute over racketeering by the tobacco industry (United States, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 99-2496, D. D.C.).
ST. LOUIS — An appellant’s 2014 Minnesota state court complaint, later dismissed as time-barred, alleging that the state violated the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when it failed to share annual payments derived from a 1998 settlement with tobacco companies precludes her purported 2016 class action against the state, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed April 20 (Sheila Foster v. Minnesota, No. 17-1177, 8th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 10136).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — After granting a motion for rehearing, a panel of the Fourth District Florida Court of Appeal on April 19 ordered that an evidentiary hearing be held by the trial court presiding over an Engle progeny suit to determine if a law firm should be disqualified from representing a plaintiff because one of its former attorneys had previously worked as an attorney defending tobacco companies in such cases (Dolores Balaban v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 4D17-2479, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 5233).
ATLANTA — An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 17 affirmed a final judgement in an Engle progeny action after finding that a trial court did not err in reducing the final judgment in the suit in which a man claimed that he developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (Patrick O. Griffin v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 14-14709, 11th Cir.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Without explanation, a First District Florida Court of Appeal panel on April 3 affirmed an $11 million verdict for a woman who claimed that she was addicted to cigarettes made by a tobacco company and that her addiction was the cause of her chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Elaine Jordan, No. 1D15-5871, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 4461).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Federal law prevents lung cancer and mesothelioma asbestos plaintiffs from arguing or presenting evidence that they lacked sufficient warning about the dangers tobacco use posed, four defendants told a West Virginia judge on April 13 (In re: Asbestos Litigation, No. 03-C-9600, W.Va. Cir., Kanawa Co.).
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Without explanation, a panel of the Fifth District Florida Court of Appeal on April 10 affirmed a defense verdict in an Engle progeny suit in which a woman claimed that her mother was addicted to cigarettes and that her heart disease, lung cancer and subsequent death were caused by her addiction to cigarettes (Debra Coursey v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 5D16-3712, Fla. App., 5th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 4938).
KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A federal judge in Michigan on March 27 granted a motion to dismiss a tobacco company from an exploding e-cigarette suit and substitute the tobacco company’s subsidiary, which makes and sells the allegedly defective e-cigarette (Ronald Sumner v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 1:18-CV-306, W.D. Mich.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on April 13 dismissed without prejudice a complaint against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in which the plaintiff claimed that the agency violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by allowing a cigarette company to advertise its cigarettes as natural because the plaintiff failed to establish causation and redressability (Justin Sproule v. United States Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 9:17-cv-80709, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62507).
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Philip Morris USA Inc. on March 28 moved for a new trial in an Engle progeny suit in which a jury awarded the widow of a man who died from lung cancer $4 million because of improper testimony from an expert, excluding evidence and improper closing arguments (Jo E. Freeman v. Philip Morris, No. 01-2015-CA-003930, Fla. 8th Jud. Cir., Alachua Co.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on April 11 denied a motion for a preliminary injunction filed by an inmate at a Pennsylvania state prison who is seeking to have all smoking and tobacco products banned from the correctional facility he is housed in because he has not shown how he has been harmed by the smoke (Bray Jibril Murray v. Secretary John E. Wetzel, et al., M.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61236).
RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina judge on April 2 denied a motion to dismiss a case in which a tobacco company is seeking to recover overpayments it made into an escrow fund because the claims brought by a tobacco company present an “existing justiciable controversy” and North Carolina and its attorney general are not immune from the claims (S&M Brands Inc. v. Josh Stein, et al., No. 17 CVS 6894, N.C. Sup., Wake Co., 2018 NCBC LEXIS 26).
CHICAGO — An Illinois appellate panel in an unpublished opinion on March 30 affirmed a trial court’s decision upholding the denial of an application for a retail tobacco license because the evidence showed that the store had been operating without a current license and continued to operate despite several cease-and-desist orders (E Cigs Loop Inc., et al. v. Chicago, No. 1-17-0914, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 5th Div., 2018 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 561).
DELAND, Fla. — A Florida jury on March 23 awarded $13.5 million to the widow of a man who died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) after finding that he was addicted to cigarettes that were made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (Margaret Brown v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2017 30003 CICI, Fla. 7th Jud. Cir., Volusia Co.) VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
TAMPA, Fla. — A jury in Florida on March 28 found in favor of a tobacco company in an Engle progeny suit brought by a widower who claimed that his deceased wife died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (Alvin Gay v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 07-CA-014649, Fla. 13th Jud. Cir., Hillsborough Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
GREENBELT, Md. — The American Academy of Pediatrics and several other health groups and doctors on March 27 sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in a Maryland federal court, claiming that the administration’s “Guidance,” which changed rules for “new tobacco products,” is unlawful (American Academy of Pediatrics, et al. v. Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 8:18-CV-883, D. Md.).