R.J. Reynolds wins jury verdict in Lennox "Engle progeny" trial
Clients R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
On February 11, 2015, following six days of trial and approximately five hours of deliberation, a jury in Tampa, Florida returned a verdict in favor of Jones Day client R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in a personal injury action finding that the smoker was not an Engle class member.
The plaintiff in the Lennox case was a former smoker of cigarettes manufactured by R.J. Reynolds. The plaintiff asserted claims for strict liability, negligence, fraudulent concealment, conspiracy, and punitive damages, and sought millions of dollars in damages. The plaintiff argued that 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), after a year-long trial in 1999. The Florida Supreme Court’s decision in that case allowed putative class members to initiate individual lawsuits against cigarette manufacturers, with certain generalized findings from the 1999 class action trial to be given an unspecified "res judicata effect." This resulted in more than 9,000 plaintiffs filing cases in the state and federal courts of Florida.
Lennox v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, No. 09-cv-13744 (M.D. Fla.)