Cases & Deals

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

Client(s) R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

On January 24, 2014, a jury in state court in Tampa, Florida returned a verdict in favor of Jones Day client R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in a wrongful death case finding that the decedent smoker was not an Engle class member. This came after thirteen days of trial and approximately four hours of deliberations.

The plaintiff in Anderson, acting as the personal representative for her deceased husband (who smoked cigarettes manufactured by The American Tobacco Company), asserted claims for strict liability, negligence, fraudulent concealment, conspiracy, breach of express and implied warranties, and punitive damages. The plaintiff 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 in 1999. The jury in Anderson returned a complete defense verdict for R.J. Reynolds, finding that the smoker, who died from esophageal adenocarcinoma in 1993, did not qualify as a member of the Engle class. The jury determined that the smoker's illness was not caused by an addiction to cigarettes containing nicotine.

The trial team was led by Jones Day partners Steve Kaczynski (Cleveland) and Mark Seiden (New York). Further assistance came from Jones Day associates Joyce McKinniss (Columbus), Ellenna Berger (Chicago), and Brianna McLaughlin (Cleveland).

Anderson v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 10-CA-000336 (Fla. 13th Cir., Hillsborough Cty.)