Altria Group Inc.’s Philip Morris USA unit and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. said they won a verdict in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed on behalf of a Florida smoker.
A state court jury in St. Petersburg, Florida, found the two biggest U.S. cigarette makers not liable in the case. The verdict is the first defense win in a so-called “post-Engle” tobacco suit in Florida.
The case is the third of its kind to be tried since the Florida Supreme Court in 2006 ruled that smokers could not sue as a class on behalf of smokers statewide. The court said smokers could sue individually and extended the time for them to do so. Thousands of such cases are pending across Florida.
The Florida Supreme Court ruling, in a class-action suit headed by a Florida smoker named Howard Engle, upheld a series of factual findings in the case, and said they would apply in all of the individual suits filed by smokers who were part of the Engle class.
The verdict follows an $8 million verdict against Philip Morris in February and a $700,000 verdict against Vector Group Ltd.’s Liggett Group unit earlier this month. Both companies said they planned to appeal.
The case is Gelep v. R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris USA, 98-6584, Florida 6th Circuit Court (St. Petersburg).
If you or a family member has been injured because of the fault of someone else; by negligence, personal injury, slip and fall, car accident, medical malpractice, trucking accident, drunk driving, bad product, toxic injury etc then please contact the Fort Worth Texas Wrongful Death Attorney Dr. Shezad Malik. For a no obligation, free case analysis, please call 817-255-4001 or Contact Me Online.