Philip Morris Wins Jury Verdict in Engle Suit

Shook, Hardy & Bacon secured a defense verdict on behalf of Philip Morris USA Inc. on Thursday, April 23 after a nearly three-week trial in Miami in which the jury found Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco not liable in an Engle progeny suit. The plaintiff requested $14 million in compensatory damages.

The suit was brought by the two daughters of Phyllis Frazier, who died 20 years after being diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The plaintiff’s attorney claimed that the plaintiff’s mother smoked Philip Morris brand cigarettes because they were advertised as “light” and “low tar.” He further claimed that Frazier’s daughters should be awarded $14 million after caring for their mother.

During closing arguments, Shook Miami Managing Partner Bill Geraghty argued that the plaintiff’s mother was responsible for her illness and death because she continued to smoke despite knowing the risks.

The case is Russo v. Philip Morris et al., case number 2007-44469-CA-01, in the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida.

Law360 provides additional coverage on the trial.