Cases & Deals

R.J. Reynolds wins complete defense verdict in Jones wrongful death lawsuit

Client(s) R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

On August 23, 2017, after a trial lasting more than three weeks, a state court jury in Vero Beach, Florida returned a unanimous defense verdict in favor of Jones Day client R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in a wrongful death lawsuit.

The plaintiff in Jones, acting as personal representative for her deceased husband, asserted claims for strict liability, negligence, fraudulent concealment, and conspiracy. She argued that her husband, who died at age 64 following a diagnosis of lung and brain cancer, 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 plaintiff sought compensatory damages of $12.5 million on her behalf as well as on behalf of her youngest son, and unspecified punitive damages. The jury deliberated approximately 2.5 hours before returning a complete defense verdict for R.J. Reynolds on all claims.

Jones ex rel. Jones v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Case No. 312008-CA-010057 (Fla. 19th Cir.)