Shook Secures Victory for Philip Morris in COPD Case

A Florida jury has returned a defense verdict for Philip Morris USA in a case where the plaintiff sought $15 million in damages. 

The suit, which is part of the Engle-Progeny litigation in Florida, stemmed from plaintiff Fannie Collar's allegations that her lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were caused by smoking. However, the jury found that she was not addicted to cigarettes manufactured by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Philip Morris USA Inc. and Liggett Group LLC.

Shook Miami Managing Partner William Geraghty, leading the defense for Philip Morris, argued that the plaintiff’s decision to smoke was voluntary and fueled by her enjoyment of smoking. 

In addition to $15 million in damages, the plaintiff had asked for $200,000 in medical bills and additional punitive damages. Law360 covered the trial in “Tobacco Cos. Win Over Jury In Ex-Smoker's $15M Trial.”

The case is Collar v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 312011CA000115 (Fla. Cir. Ct., Indian River Cty.).