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ALTRIA GROUP : Palm Beach County Jury Finds for Philip Morris USA in an Engle Trial

07/19/2011 | 07:50pm US/Eastern

A Palm Beach County jury today decided in favor of Philip Morris USA and other tobacco companies in an Engle case (Weingart). The decision today marks the eighth win for the company in the last 12 Engle cases to go to trial.

In this case, the jury rejected all but one of the plaintiff's claims. On that claim, the jury found plaintiff 91% at fault and declined to award any damages.

"We believe that the jury appropriately rejected awarding the plaintiff any damages," said Murray Garnick, Altria Client Services senior vice president and associate general counsel, speaking on behalf of Philip Morris USA. "We continue to believe that the trial courts are violating Florida law and due process in these cases by allowing the plaintiffs to rely on general findings from a previous jury with no connection to the specific circumstances of these cases."

"Although the jury refused to award any damages, the due process violation is directly responsible for the single claim that the jury found in favor of the plaintiff," Garnick added. "As with each Engle trial, Philip Morris USA continues to vigorously defend itself."

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 Weingart v. RJ Reynolds et al.

ALCS Media Relations

© Business Wire 2011
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