Fifth Jury Finds for PM USA in Engle Case

Smoker was 100% responsible for his smoking choices , it says

Published in CSP Daily News

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Broward County, Fla., jury today decided in favor of Philip Morris USA in an Engle case (Rohr v. RJ Reynolds, Philip Morris USA, Lorillard Tobacco Co. and Liggett). The verdict today marks the fifth consecutive verdict for the company in the Engle progeny cases this month.

"The jury found that the smoker was 100% responsible for his smoking choices," said Murray Garnick, Altria Client Services senior vice president and associate general counsel, speaking on behalf of Richmond, Va.-based Philip Morris USA. "The fact that five consecutive juries [image-nocss] reached a defense verdict shows that Philip Morris USA still has powerful defenses in these cases even though the courts are improperly allowing plaintiffs to rely on a prior jury's findings instead of proving their case at trial."

Added Garnick: "Philip Morris USA will continue to vigorously defend each individual Engle-related case."

The verdict came in a trial of an Engle progeny case following a 2006 Florida Supreme Court decision that decertified a class action but allowed former class-action members to file individual lawsuits and rely on general findings from the first class action. Recently, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals severely restricted the ability of plaintiffs in the federal cases to use findings from the prior Engle jury to meet their burden of proof at trial. Neither the plaintiff here nor any of the other plaintiffs in state courts have complied with the requirements set forth by this ruling.Within the past month, juries in Hillsborough County (Campbell), Miami-Dade County (Frazier), Duval County (Warrick) and Manatee County (Willis) have returned verdicts for Philip Morris USA in other Engle cases.