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From Products Liability Law Daily, February 25, 2019

High Court will not review due process question in Engle-progeny tobacco cases

By Susan Lasser, J.D.

Supreme Court rejects 8 petitions by tobacco companies seeking appeal of cigarette verdicts.

The U.S. Supreme Court today denied eight requests for review by tobacco companies R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and Philip Morris USA Inc. of Engle-progeny cases which went to trial and resulted in verdicts in favor of the plaintiff smokers or their representatives. The cigarette makers’ petitions each posed the same due process question to the High Court: whether the Due Process Clause is "violated by a rule that permits plaintiffs to invoke a prior jury’s findings to establish elements of their claims without showing that those elements were actually decided in their favor in the prior proceeding, based merely on the fact that the defendant had an opportunity to be heard on those issues in the prior proceeding and the possibility that the relevant issues might have been decided in the plaintiffs’ favor in that proceeding." In each petition’s question presented, the tobacco companies had asked the Supreme Court to hold the petitions pending the disposition of two of the petitions—R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Searcy (Docket No. 18-649; petition filed November 19, 2018; cert. denied February 25, 2019) and Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Boatright (Docket No. 18-654; petition filed November 19, 2018; cert. denied February 25, 2019)—and then dispose of the other tobacco litigation petitions consistently with its action in those two cases. The Court, having denied certiorari in those two petitions today, declined review for the other petitions—Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Jordan (Docket No. 18-551; petition filed October 26, 2018; cert. denied February 25, 2019), Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Brown (Docket No. 18-552; petition filed October 26, 2018; cert. denied February 25, 2019), R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Pardue (Docket No. 18-621; petition filed November 9, 2018; cert. denied February 25, 2019), Philip Morris USA Inc. v. McKeever (Docket No. 18-653; petition filed November 19, 2018; cert. denied February 25, 2019), R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Nally (Docket No. 18-897; petition filed January 10, 2019; cert. denied February 25, 2019), and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Johnston (Docket No. 18-898; petition filed January 10, 2019; cert. denied February 25, 2019). The High Court has yet to rule on one other of these cigarette company petitions—R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Odom (Docket No. 18-788; petition filed December 15, 2018).

Companies: R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.; Philip Morris USA Inc.

MainStory: TopStory TobaccoProductsNews SupremeCtNews

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