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Case Detail


R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Graham
On October 19, 2017, WLF asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review an en banc decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit that, in misplaced deference to rulings by the Supreme Court of Florida, upheld a tort duty on tobacco manufacturers not to sell cigarettes. In its brief urging certiorari, WLF charged that the Eleventh Circuit ratified a theory of liability that is preempted by federal law. The case arose out of an abortive effort more than a decade ago to try all tort claims by Florida smokers in a single class action. Although the Florida Supreme Court (in its Engle decision) decertified the class, it held that smokers bringing future individual tort suits could take advantage of generic findings made by the class-action jury. As WLF’s brief demonstrated, that “finding”—that all cigarettes are inherently defective—stands as an obstacle to the longstanding objectives of federal law, which is premised on the assumption that cigarettes will remain on the market.
Case Status:
Awaiting decision.
More Information and Downloads:
10/19/2017: Download the Brief
4/22/2016: Download the Brief

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