Cases & Deals

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco wins appeal of punitive damages awarded under Kansas law in individual smoker action

Clients R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company retained Jones Day to file an appeal of punitive damages awarded to an individual smoker who suffered a personal injury resulting from peripheral vascular disease and had brought suit against Reynolds under Kansas law. After a jury trial in which Reynolds was held liable on several counts, the district court imposed a $15 million punitive damages award against the company. On appeal, Reynolds argued, among other things, that the fraudulent concealment claim on which the punitive damages award was predicated was not recognized under Kansas law in these circumstances and was legally and factually unfounded in any event; and that the verdict in favor of the plaintiff must be reversed for numerous additional reasons. In early 2005, the Tenth Circuit reversed the entire punitive damages award.

Burton v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 02-3262 (10th Cir. 2005)

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