US Supreme Court Rejects Big Tobacco Appeal
The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 7 declined to hear big tobacco companies’ appeal of a Florida Supreme Court decision that makes it easier for smokers to sue the companies. As a result, a jury’s findings of fact in a massive class action suit from years ago can continue to be used in individual suits.
New Case, Old Findings
Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, and Liggett had asked the high court to hear their appeal of a $2.5-million jury award to the family of Charlotte Douglas, a 62-year-old lung cancer sufferer who died in 2008.
The Florida Supreme Court in 2006 upheld the decertification of Engle v. Liggett Group, a huge class action suit against the tobacco industry, but said the plaintiffs could proceed individually against the defendant companies, using the general findings of liability from the underlying year-long trial.