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Cert Denied for Cigarette Makers R.J. Reynolds and Phillip Morris

By George Khoury, Esq. on March 01, 2019 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

R.J. Reynolds and Phillip Morris were denied certiorari in their bid to catch a break from the wave of lawsuits over the deaths of smokers costing them millions of dollars.

The cigarette makers, in a series of eight cases, were essentially challenging the ability of plaintiffs to rely on determinations made in a decade-old class action, which is basically what the result of that action provided. However, the Court rejected the multiple cert petitions.

The Engle Legacy

The Engle v. Liggett case was epic, and set up what are known as the Engle progeny cases.

In short, the Engle case was a big class action against big tobacco, where the end result was the class being decertified, but allowed to pursue individual claims where only damages were at issue, because the evidence getting to class certification had shown that the tobacco companies illegally conspired.

Engle has resulted in nearly a billion dollars in judgments against the companies, and there are still over 2,000 pending cases.

Notably, SCOTUS denial of cert came without an explanation, and was simply listed among all the other denied petitions, though the Court did note that rookie Justice Kavanaugh did not participate in the decision.

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