Mealey's Tobacco

  • November 09, 2018

    Divided Florida Panel: Tobacco Tax Memo Is Unadopted Rule

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In a Nov. 6 ruling, a majority of a First District Florida Court of Appeal panel agreed with a tobacco wrap distributor that a 2016 memorandum issued by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation constitutes an unadopted rule that cannot be enforced (Grabba-Leaf LLC v. Department of Business and Professional Regulation, No. 1D16-4273, Fla. App, 1st Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 15780).

  • November 09, 2018

    Florida Federal Jury Again Rejects Claims By Smoker’s Widow

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — For the third time, jurors on Nov. 7 sided with the tobacco industry in a longstanding dispute over the lung cancer death of a Florida man (Eddie O. Starbuck v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 09-cv-13250, M.D. Fla.).

  • November 05, 2018

    Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Strikes Down Tobacco Ordinance

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A local Rhode Island ordinance that requires stores selling tobacco to obtain a “dealer’s license” and pay an annual $100 fee was rejected as unconstitutional on Oct. 30 by a Rhode Island judge (Sams Food Mart LLC v. Town of Middletown, No. NC-2017-0443, R.I. Super., 2018 R.I. Super. LEXIS 95).

  • November 02, 2018

    Dismissal Of Claim Juul Misrepresents Nicotine Levels Denied In California

    SAN FRANCISCO — In an Oct. 30 holding, a California federal judge found that purported class claims that JUUL Labs Inc. misrepresents the amount of nicotine in its electronic cigarettes are not preempted by the Tobacco Control Act (TCA), 21 U.S.C. § 387 et seq., and may proceed (Bradley Colgate, et al. v. JUUL Labs Inc., No. 18-2499, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185919).

  • November 02, 2018

    Michigan Appellate Panel Reverses Order Affirming Seizure Of Tobacco Product

    DETROIT — A Michigan appellate court in an Oct. 23 unpublished opinion reversed a trial court’s order affirming the Department of Treasury’s seizure and forfeiture of a company’s tobacco product pursuant to the Tobacco Products Tax Act (TPTA), holding that the company should have been allowed to conduct discovery related to the lawfulness of the seizure and forfeiture (Prime Time International Distributing, Inc. v. Department of Treasury, No. 338564, Mich. App., 2018 Mich. App. LEXIS 3379).

  • November 01, 2018

    Florida Federal Judge Seats Jury, Begins Retrial Of Engle Case

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A jury was selected on Oct. 29 in a third retrial of allegations that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc. bear responsibility for the lung cancer death of a Florida man; the same day, a Florida federal judge issued jurors preliminary instructions in the case (Eddie O. Starbuck v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 09-cv-13250, M.D. Fla.).

  • October 29, 2018

    Denial Of Cert Allows New York To Tax Cigarettes Sold To Non-Indians

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — New York can continue to seek taxes from tribal retailers on cigarettes sold to non-Indians after the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 29 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by a Seneca Nation outlet store operator (Eric White, et al. v. Barbara D. Underwood, et al., No. 18-297, U.S. Sup.).

  • October 26, 2018

    Florida Appellate Panel Affirms Defense Verdict In Engle Progeny Suit

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida appellate court on Oct. 18 affirmed a jury verdict in favor of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc. in a suit in which a man and his wife claimed that the man developed bladder cancer because of his addiction to cigarettes made by the two tobacco companies (Steven Kogan v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 4D17-2256, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 14872).

  • October 25, 2018

    Florida Top Court: Reinstate Full Award For Widow Of Smoker

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In an Oct. 23 holding, the Florida Supreme Court granted rehearing in a dispute over an appellate decision that reduced a $5.7 million compensatory damages award in an Engle progeny case to reflect a jury’s determination of comparative fault (Vickie McKeever, etc. v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., No. SC17-198, Fla. Sup.).

  • October 24, 2018

    9th Circuit Won’t Rehear $58 Million Tribal Tobacco Company Tax Case

    SAN FRANCISCO  — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 22 denied rehearing en banc of its affirmance of a Washington federal judge’s determination that a tribal manufacturer of tobacco products located on land held in trust by the United States is not entitled to an exemption from the federal tobacco excise tax (United States v. King Mountain Tobacco Co., Nos. 14-36055, 16-35607, 9th Cir.).

  • October 23, 2018

    Suit Accuses E-Cigarette Maker Of False Marketing And Targeting Youth

    MIAMI — A Florida minor filed a class action suit in Florida federal court on Oct. 10, alleging that a maker of an e-cigarette device engaged in false marketing and promotion of its products to minors in violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUPTA) (J.Y., et al. v. JUUL Labs, Inc., No. 18-14416, S.D. Fla.).

  • October 22, 2018

    Florida Jury Sides With Tobacco Company In Engle Progeny Case

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — An addiction to cigarettes containing nicotine was not the legal cause of the death by lung cancer of a Florida man, jurors in a Florida courtroom concluded Oct. 17, in what marked a win for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (Cynthia McFall Ridley v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2011-CA-005250, Fla. 15th Jud. Cir., Palm Beach Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.

  • October 18, 2018

    Amici Plead For Reversal Of New York’s Tribal Cigarette Tax Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two Native American tribes in New York asked the U.S. Supreme Court Oct. 9 to grant certiorari to decide how the New York Indian Law applies to the state’s attempt to collect taxes on cigarettes sold on an Indian reservation to nontribal members (Eric White, et al. v. Barbara D. Underwood, et al., No. 18-297, U.S. Sup.).

  • October 16, 2018

    Florida Top Court Rejects Daubert, Reinstates Asbestos, Tobacco Verdict

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Legislature’s adoption of the Daubert standard involved procedural rules properly within the scope of the court’s powers, and an appeals court improperly applied it to exclude expert testimony relied on in an $8 million judgment against asbestos and tobacco companies, a majority of the Florida Supreme Court said Oct. 15 (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182, Fla. Sup.).

  • October 16, 2018

    FDA Answers Order With Expedited Timeline For Tobacco Label Rulemaking

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration submitted a proposed expedited rulemaking timeline on Oct. 5 for publishing new graphic health warnings on cigarette packages and advertisements by May 2021 in response to a federal judge’s order, claiming that the proposed timeline would result in the issuance of a final rule six months sooner than a timeline previously provided to the court (American Academy of Pediatrics, et al v. United States Food and Drug Administration, No. 16-cv-11985, D. Mass.).

  • October 15, 2018

    Massachusetts Jury Awards $43.1M In Rare Asbestos-Tobacco Lung Cancer Trial

    BOSTON — A Massachusetts jury hearing a rare trial involving both asbestos and tobacco defendants on Oct. 12 faulted one of the three defendants and hit that tobacco company with $13.1 million in compensatory damages and $30 million in punitive damages for a man’s lung cancer (Louis Summerlin, et al. v. Philip Morris, USA, et al., No. 1581CV05255, Mass. Super., Suffolk Co.).  VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.

  • October 12, 2018

    R.J. Reynolds, Philip Morris Prevail In Florida Tobacco Trial

    MIAMI — A Florida jury on Oct. 11 found that although a three-pack-a-day smoker was addicted to cigarettes and the addiction was the legal cause of his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a wrongful death action by his widow is untimely (Carlos Ortiz v. Philip Morris Inc., et al., No. 2008-000847-CA-01, Fla. 11th Jud. Cir., Dade Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.

  • October 11, 2018

    Rare Asbestos-Tobacco Lung Cancer Trial Heads To Massachusetts Jury

    BOSTON — A Massachusetts jury began deliberations on Oct. 8 after it heard closing arguments about addiction, choice and the state of the art regarding friction brake products in a rare lung cancer case involving both tobacco and asbestos defendants (Louis Summerlin, et al. v. Philip Morris, USA, et al., No. 1581CV05255, Mass. Super., Suffolk Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.

  • October 10, 2018

    Federal Judge Won’t Stop Widow From Seeking Punitive Damages From Cigarette Makers

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on Oct. 3 ruled that the widow of a longtime smoker may continue to pursue punitive damages in her Engle progeny lawsuit against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc., ruling that a notice filed by the two cigarette makers seeking to invoke a Florida statute that limits a defendant’s exposure to punitive damages “is not ripe for decision” (Eddie O. Starbuck v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 09-cv-13250, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171171).

  • October 08, 2018

    $21.5 Million Award To Smoker’s Widow Affirmed By Florida Appellate Court

    LAKELAND, Fla.— A Florida appellate court on Sept. 28 affirmed a $21.5 million jury award for damages to the widow of a man who died from cancer caused by smoking cigarettes made by the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. Barbara Jean Johnston, No. 2D17-1702, Fla. App., 2nd Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 13840).

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