Friday, October 19, 2007
The Supreme Court declined to review the Florida Supreme Court's decision in Engle v. Liggett Group, 945 So.2d 1246 (Fla. 2006) on October 1, 2007. The docket for the cert petition in R.J. Reynolds v. Engle can be found here. In the Engle decision the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of a $145 million classwide punitive damages verdict, but it also allowed certain liability findings made in Phase I of the trial to stand. This means that the defendants cannot relitigate some of the issues that it lost in the trial. The defendants' argument that the question of punitives lacked sufficient commonality for class treatment was adopted, but this ruling on lack of commonality did not extend to some of the underlying issues of liability which did have the requisite commonality, according to the court. This means that former members of the class can use these findings offensively against the defendants in future suits.