Cases & Deals

R.J. Reynolds wins jury verdict in Campbell ''Engle progeny'' lawsuit

Client(s) R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

Jones Day secures complete defense verdict for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in an "Engle progeny" lawsuit. On October 15, 2010, after two weeks of trial and less than an hour of deliberations, the Firm obtained from a state court jury in Tampa, Florida a verdict in favor of client (and co-defendant Philip Morris).

The plaintiff, a 77-year-old woman, began smoking regularly in 1952. In the early 1990's, she was diagnosed with and treated for bladder cancer. The plaintiff also alleged that she suffered from COPD/emphysema. She argued that, by virtue of her smoking history and alleged injuries, she was a member of the class decertified by the Florida Supreme Court in Engle v. Liggett Group, Inc., 945 So. 2d 1246 (Fla. 2006), and that she was, therefore, entitled to the benefit of certain generalized findings made in Engle. Based on her alleged injuries and Engle class membership, the plaintiff asked the jury to award her millions of dollars in compensatory damages and, further, to award punitive damages.

Jones Day prevailed on the threshold issue: whether the plaintiff qualified as a member of the Engle class. Jones Day convinced the jury that the plaintiff failed to prove that, on or before November 21, 1996, she suffered from a disease or medical condition legally caused by an addiction to smoking cigarettes containing nicotine. Accordingly, the plaintiff did not qualify as a member of the Engle class and the jury rendered its verdict for R.J. Reynolds.

Campbell v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., Case No. 09-CA-000493 (Fla. 13th Cir. Ct.)