Cases & Deals

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

Client(s) R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

On June 28, 2012, after almost three weeks of trial, a state court jury in Jacksonville, Florida returned a verdict in favor of Jones Day client R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. The jury deliberated approximately three hours over two days before issuing a defense verdict in this wrongful death action.

The plaintiff in Frailey, acting as personal representative for her deceased husband (who had smoked cigarettes manufactured by The American Tobacco Company) asserted claims for strict liability, negligence, fraudulent concealment, and conspiracy. She argued that her husband 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 by a jury in the course of the Engle class action trial in 1999. The jury returned a complete defense verdict for R.J. Reynolds, finding that the smoker did not qualify as a member of the Engle class. The jury determined that the smoker’s illness (in this case, esophageal adenocarcinoma) was not caused by an addiction to cigarettes containing nicotine.

Frailey, Ellen, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Julius Frailey v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 16-2008-CA-000398-IXXX-MA (Fla. Cir. Ct., 4th Jud. Cir., Duval County)