FLA. SUPREME COURT HANDS REYNOLDS, PHILIP MORRIS ENGLE LEGAL WINS
The Florida Supreme Court handed R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA significant legal victories last week when it upheld a recent lower-court ruling on four Engle progeny lawsuits. The ruling affected jury damages of at least $29 million. The court affirmed the ruling that requires Engle plaintiffs to meet a higher evidentiary standard to prevail on a fraudulent concealment and conspiracy claim. Engle progeny lawsuits sprang from a decision in 2006 by the Florida Supreme Court that decertified a $145 billion class-action lawsuit initially filed by Howard Engle. The decertification means that former class members are now limited to filing individual lawsuits stating that cigarettes caused their respective illnesses.