WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida appeals court on Sept. 18 reversed a $7.1 million verdict awarded to a widower who claimed that Philip Morris USA Inc. concealed the harmfulness of smoking, which ultimately led to a woman’s lung cancer and death, remanding the case for a new trial (Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Michael Gentile, as personal representative of the estate of Brenda Gentile, No. 4D18-1439, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2019 Fla. App. LEXIS 14142).
BOSTON — A plaintiff told a Massachusetts jury on Sept. 5 that Philip Morris knew that teenagers were an important demographic for its cigarettes, chose to target them and was proud of how well its efforts worked. But the company said the plaintiff’s relatively short-term use of its cigarettes and her type of lung cancer suggest other causes of her disease (Patricia Greene v. Philip Morris, No. 1581CV01808, Mass. Super., Middlesex Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an Aug. 8 amended complaint, plaintiffs challenging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “Deeming Rule” added a new count seeking a declaration that the FDA’s subsequent 2017 Guidance, which extended compliance deadlines for premarket approval applications and substantial equivalence reports, remains “valid and in effect” (Cigar Association of America Inc., et al. v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 16-1460, D. D.C.).
MIAMI — A Florida jury on Aug. 23 returned a verdict for Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds, after hearing from their attorneys that the man knew of the dangers of tobacco, knew he had to quit and lectured family members not to start smoking cigarettes (Mark Fields v. Philip Morris, et al., No. 2008-CA-1274, Fla. 11th Jud. Cir., Dade Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Juul Labs Inc., the maker of a popular e-cigarette device that is facing at least 34 lawsuits all accusing the e-cigarette maker of creating an addictive product that is deceptively marketed to children, on Aug. 27 urged the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to transfer all cases to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (In Re: Juul Labs, Inc., No. 2913, JPMDL).
ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should reverse a former smoker’s fraud claims that were part of a $17 million judgment against the tobacco company and remand for a new trial on all other issues, Philip Morris USA Inc. argues in a reply brief filed Aug. 14 (Donna Brown v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., No. 15-13160, 11th Cir.).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Philip Morris USA Inc. on Sept. 13 saw three motions filed in a Florida federal court that attempted to reverse a $27 million verdict rejected, with the federal judge saying that “simply put: it is time for Philip Morris to pay the judgment. And [it] is time for its lawyers to tell it to do so” (Bernard Cote v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., No. 09-cv-14157, M.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156682).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — During opening statements on Sept. 12, a tobacco company asked a Florida jury to consider whether a man truly suffered from lung cancer, while the estate tasked the jury with deciding whether the man smoked cigarettes as a personal choice or because of the machinations of tobacco companies (Robert Miller v. R.J. Reynolds, No. 2008-CA-000401, Fla. 4th Jud. Cir., Duval Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sept. 6 urged the public to stop using e-cigarette products while the agency investigates more than 450 cases of possible vaping-related illnesses in 33 states; hours after a press conference to discuss the initial findings of its investigations, the CDC confirmed the fifth death linked to vaping.
JACKSON, Miss. — A vaping company and manufacturer and a newly formed trade association sued the Food and Drug Administration on Aug. 18, telling a Mississippi federal court that the FDA violated Article I of the U.S. Constitution in May 2016 when it published a final rule deeming all products meeting the statutory definition of “tobacco product” to be subject to the Tobacco Control Act (Big Time Vape Inc. and United States Vaping Association v. Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 19-531, S.D. Miss.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida appeals court on Aug. 28 found that a trial court erred in limiting a tobacco company’s ability to defend against a decedent’s class membership after it withdrew its affirmative defense of comparative negligence, reversing a $40.9 million verdict (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Leslie Schlefstein, as personal representative of the estate of Dawn Schlefstein, No. 4D18-1150, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2019 Fla. App. LEXIS 13209).
SAN FRANCISCO — In an Aug. 23 order, a federal judge in California found that JUUL Labs Inc. is entitled to dismissal, in part, of purported class claims of negligence per se and breach of express warranty, but ruled that plaintiffs in the case may proceed with several other allegations against the e-cigarette maker, including that JUUL breach an implied warranty and violated various consumer protection laws (Bradley Colgate, et al. v. JUUL Labs Inc., No. 18-2499, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144027).
NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 22 found that a district court misapplied the nonmutual offensive collateral estoppel standard in a lawsuit against a tobacco company that ended in a defense verdict but ruled that the court’s error does not require vacating the judgment and remanded the case for the lower court to consider whether the application of that standard would be unfair (Vincent J. Bifolck v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 17‐3927, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 25023).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A federal judge in Alabama on Aug. 14 denied Juul Labs Inc.’s motion to stay proceedings until the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) decides whether to transfer 10 pending lawsuits, all accusing the e-cigarette maker of creating an addictive product that is deceptively marketed to children, to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California for coordination or consolidation (Savannah West v. Juul Labs Inc, et al., No. 19-505, M.D. Ala.).
MIAMI — The family of a lung cancer victim and two tobacco companies squared off in a Florida court Aug. 15 over the extent of advertising and marketing’s impact on a man’s use of their tobacco products (Mark Fields v. Philip Morris, et al., No. 2008-CA-1274, Fla. 11th Jud. Cir., Dade Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
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).