Cases & Deals

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

Client(s) R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

After a trial lasting three weeks, a state court jury in Vero Beach, Florida returned a complete defense verdict in favor of Jones Day client R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in a wrongful death case.

The plaintiff in Jones, acting individually and as personal representative of the estate of her deceased husband, claimed that her late husband who died following a diagnosis of lung 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). She asserted claims for strict liability, negligence, fraudulent concealment, and conspiracy. At trial, she requested $10 million in compensatory damages for herself, $2.5 million for her son, a statutory beneficiary, plus additional punitive damages. After less than three hours of deliberations, the jury reached a defense verdict, rejecting all of plaintiff’s claims and finding the decedent was not a member of the Engle class.

Jones v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, No. 2008-010057-CA-04 (Fla. 19th Cir.)