DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Attorney General Thomas J. Miller in a July 28 lawsuit filed in Iowa state court contends that tobacco companies have withheld more than $133 million from the state in “bad faith” by raising “deceptive” objections to their obligatory annual payments under a 1998 master settlement agreement (MSA) between the companies and the state since 2006.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Florida jury on Aug. 10 heard opening arguments in an Engle lawsuit brought by his widow against a tobacco company that she says caused his death from laryngeal cancer, while a tobacco company attorney said the smoker knew the risks of smoking but chose to smoke. VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on Aug. 10 granted a Missouri smoker’s motion to remand his lawsuit against three tobacco companies to state court, rejecting R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.’s (RJR) argument that two Florida citizen tobacco companies were fraudulently joined because the plaintiffs’ claims against them are barred by Florida’s statute of repose.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three cigar industry organizations in an Aug. 2 brief urge a District of Columbia federal judge to “vacate and permanently enjoin” a Food and Drug Administration rule regulating premium cigars, arguing that as the court found that the rule was arbitrarily imposed in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), “the normal remedy” would be vacatur.
BOSTON — A Massachusetts state court judge on Aug. 8 declared a mistrial in a wrongful death action after jurors failed to reach a verdict following three days of deliberation on claims brought against a tobacco company by the family of a deceased smoker, which had claimed that the tobacco company caused the smoker’s addiction and death from lung cancer by designing smoother-tasting menthol cigarettes to intentionally addict smokers. VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
MIAMI — A Florida appellate panel on July 27 affirmed a defense verdict in favor of a tobacco company against the widow of a smoker, rejecting the widow’s argument that the court abused its discretion by allowing the tobacco company to impeach her testimony during trial with questions regarding whether she altered her testimony about the date her husband developed a smoking-related illness and fell ill to bolster her lawsuit’s chance of success.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — A New York federal judge on Aug. 1 granted dismissal of a challenge brought by retailers to a New York town’s ordinance banning sales of e-cigarette products, ruling that the ordinance is not expressly preempted by federal tobacco regulations and does not infringe on the retailers’ rights under the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution, U.S. Const. amend. I.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services and their respective leaders in an Aug. 2 brief urge a District of Columbia federal judge to remand, not vacate, a rule regulating premium cigars, which the court recently found was arbitrarily imposed, arguing that vacatur would cause “disruptive consequences” and “serious public health harms.”
SAN FRANCISCO — E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. (JLI) on July 28 moved in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to dismiss a claim against it for violation of the Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act (OCPA) brought by the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, one of three tribal bellwethers accusing JLI of targeting tribes with illegal and deceptive marketing of e-cigarettes.
GALVESTON, Texas — A Texas federal judge on July 26 dismissed without prejudice a man’s product liability claims against a South Korean battery manufacturer for severe burns he sustained after his e-cigarette vape exploded in his pocket, finding that Samsung sold batteries only to authorized manufacturers in Texas and did not intend its lithium-ion batteries to be sold for use in vape devices.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 26 denied four vape companies’ consolidated petitions for review of the Food and Drug Administration’s marketing denial orders (MDOs) banning their products from the market, finding that the FDA’s error in not reviewing the companies’ individual marketing plans was “harmless” because other data showed that the risk of youth use outweighed the products’ benefits to adult smokers.
SAN FRANCISCO — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 22 ordered a vape company’s petition challenging the Food and Drug Administration’s marketing denial order (MDO) prohibiting sales of its products stayed until January 2024 while the FDA conducts re-reviews of various vape companies’ premarket tobacco applications (PMTAs).
BOSTON — The family of a deceased smoker who got hooked after smoking a free sample pack at age 16 told jurors July 15 during opening arguments in a Massachusetts state court that a tobacco company caused the decedent’s addiction and death from lung cancer by designing smoother-tasting menthol cigarettes to intentionally addict smokers. VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, as circuit justice for the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, on July 15 granted three tobacco companies’ application for an extension until Oct. 7 to file a petition for a writ of certiorari challenging a split Ninth Circuit panel’s affirmance of the dismissal of their challenge to a ban on flavored tobacco products enacted by Los Angeles County.
NEW ORLEANS — In an about-face from a 2021 order finding that the Food and Drug Administration made a “surprise switcheroo” in the standards upon which it banned sales of certain flavored e-cigarettes, a split Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 18 found that the FDA acted within its authority in banning two vape companies’ products for a lack of scientific studies demonstrating efficacy promoting smoking cessation.
SAN FRANCISCO — Juul Labs Inc. (JLI) co-founders James Monsees and Adam Bowen on July 15 filed joinders to three petitions to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently filed separately by JLI, Altria Group Inc. and its subsidiaries and three JLI board members, all seeking to appeal the certification of four classes bringing claims for up to $10 billion in damages in the multidistrict litigation against them.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three tobacco companies on July 12 filed an application to the U.S. Supreme Court requesting an extension until October to file their petition for a writ of certiorari challenging a split Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel’s affirmance of the dismissal of their challenge to a ban on flavored tobacco products enacted by Los Angeles County.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal judge on July 5 granted in part three tobacco industry associations’ motion for summary judgment on claims that the Food and Drug Administration acted arbitrarily by deeming premium cigars subject to regulation without acknowledging evidence that suggested that the cigars did not pose a public health risk and ordered further briefing on whether that decision should be vacated or remanded without vacatur.
ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands — The Supreme Court of the U.S. Virgin Islands on July 7 affirmed findings of liability against a tobacco company for claims brought by the families of two dead smokers who collectively were awarded more than $113.3 million but vacated an “excessive” $70 million compensatory damages award in one case, reduced a $30 million punitive award in the other to $14.4 million and vacated the court’s award of prejudgment interest to the plaintiffs.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida appellate panel on July 6 reversed a $6 million punitive damages award to a smoker’s widow after finding that the trial court erred in instructing jurors to rely on findings from the Engle trial in determining punitives against a tobacco company for causing the smoker’s death from stomach cancer.