Philip Morris Wins First Engle Trial

“Even though we won this trial, we continue to believe that the Engle trial structure is fundamentally unfair and unconstitutional,” says Philip Morris spokesperson.

A Fort Myers jury today decided in favor of Philip Morris USA and other tobacco companies in the first Engle case to be tried in Lee County (Szymanski). This marks the 10th win for the company in its last 14 Engle trials, including a defense verdict returned earlier today in a Miami-Dade case.

“The jury listened to the facts, recognized that the plaintiff was responsible for his own smoking decision and appropriately found in favor of Philip Morris USA,” said Murray Garnick, Altria Client Services senior vice president and associate general counsel, speaking on behalf of Philip Morris USA. “Even though we won this trial, we continue to believe that the Engle trial structure is fundamentally unfair and unconstitutional. In September, a Fourth District Court of Appeals’ decision questioned the constitutionality of the Engle trial structure.”

Today’s 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.

Today’s decision came in Szymanski v.R.J. Reynolds et al, case number: 07-CA-015501.

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