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Florida Supreme Court Affirms $2.5 Million Verdict in Smoker’s Death

Posted on March 18, 2013

In a ruling that experts are saying re-affirms Florida’s landmark “Engle” decision, the Florida Supreme Court upheld a $2.5 million tobacco litigation verdict from a Tampa jury that was given to the survivors of a smoker who died in 2008.

In a six to one decision, the Supreme Court rejected the appeal made by the three tobacco companies that lost the lower case suit. The companies claimed that the Engle decision denied them due process by improperly restricting their ability to defend themselves.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Ricky Poulson said bluntly, “We decline the defendants’ invitation to rewrite Engle.”

In 2006, the Florida Supreme Court threw out a $145 billion class-action suit verdict against the tobacco industry. However, the court also ruled that individual plaintiffs who wanted to bring suits against the tobacco industry in Florida could use jury findings in the Engle case that found the tobacco industry was negligent, sold defective products, and conspired to hide smoking information from the public.

The decision was named after Howard Engle, who had been the lead plaintiff in the original class-action suit brought against the tobacco companies in 1994.

Last year, tobacco manufacturer R.J. Reynolds asked the U.S Supreme Court to review a $28.4 million Florida jury verdict against it, claiming that the Engle decision violated its due process. The court refused the request.

Have you been sickened, or has a loved one been sickened or died, due to the use of deceptively marketed and defective tobacco products? Contact the tobacco litigation lawyers in Florida at Farah & Farah. We can explain the status of current tobacco-related litigation, review your case and discuss your legal options. Our legal team can reached online or call us at (800) 533-3555, for a free consultation.