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Press release from Business Wire

Sixth Florida Jury Finds for Philip Morris USA in Engle Case

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sixth Florida Jury Finds for Philip Morris USA in Engle Case15:32 EST Friday, November 12, 2010 RICHMOND, Va. (Business Wire) -- A Miami-Dade County jury today decided in favor of Philip Morris USA in an Engle case (Espinosa). The verdict today marks the sixth consecutive defense verdict for Philip Morris USA in the Engle progeny cases and the eighth defense verdict for the industry since the end of August. “This sixth consecutive defense verdict for Philip Morris USA shows that juries throughout the state of Florida recognize that smokers are responsible for their own smoking choices,” said Murray Garnick, Altria Client Services senior vice president and associate general counsel, speaking on behalf of Philip Morris USA. “We have won six consecutive cases even though in each one the trial court's rulings violated Florida law and due process by allowing the plaintiffs to rely on general findings from a previous jury with no connection to the specific circumstances of these cases.” “Philip Morris USA will continue to vigorously defend itself in each Engle case that goes to trial,” Garnick added. The verdict came in a trial of a so-called 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. Since October, juries in Hillsborough County (Campbell), Miami-Dade County (Frazier), Duval County (Warrick), Manatee County (Willis),and Broward County (Rohr) have returned verdicts for Philip Morris USA in other Engle cases. Today's decision came in Espinosa v. Philip Morris USA.ALCS Media Relations804-484-8897