Press release from Business Wire
Jury Verdict for Philip Morris USA in Engle Progeny Case
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Jury Verdict for Philip Morris USA in Engle Progeny Case18:40 EDT Wednesday, May 19, 2010 RICHMOND, Va. (Business Wire) -- A Duval County jury today ruled in favor of Philip Morris USA (PM USA) in a lawsuit filed by the family of a smoker following a 2006 Florida Supreme Court decision that decertified a class action but allowed former class members to file individual lawsuits. “We believe that the jury correctly decided that the plaintiff failed to prove her case,” said Murray Garnick, Altria Client Services senior vice president and associate general counsel, speaking on behalf of PM USA. At trial, the court allowed the jury to rely on general findings made in the decertified class action that are totally unrelated to the plaintiff in this case. “The jury reached the correct result despite the fact that the trial court adopted an unfair trial plan that eliminated any requirement that the plaintiff prove that PM USA did anything wrong to recover damages,” said Garnick. “Each federal trial court that has reviewed the trial plan used in these state cases has found that they violate Florida law and are unconstitutional,” said Garnick. About 4000 Engle-related claims are pending in federal court and have been put on hold pending a federal appeals court review of the state-law and constitutional issues that arise from allowing the plaintiff to rely on prior Engle jury findings. The case is Gil de Rubio v. PM USA, et. al.