The United States Supreme Court today denied certiorari in the Engle Class Action. This ends 13 years of litigation of the class action certification and jury findings.Howard Engle, a Miami Beach pediatrician filed the suit on behalf of an all smokers suffering from the effects of addiction to nicotine in cigarettes and survivors of those who died.
Last July, the Florida Supreme Court overturned the Third District Court of Appeal’s reversal of a final judgment entered in favor of smokers’ damages against cigarette companies and industry organizations. In December the Court denied petitions for re-hearing filed by the tobacco companies and gave plaintiffs one year to file suit on individual claims for compensatory and punitive damages.
Using every legal procedure in the law books the tobacco industry caused further delay by filing a request for review in the United States Supreme Court then moving for a stay order in every filed case claiming that nothing should be done until the Supreme Court decided the case. Today’s refusal by the highest court in the land exposed the frivolous nature of the tobacco industry’s latest tactics. Trying to downplay the significance of U.S. Supreme Courts simple denial of its position the industry spokes person W.Ohlemeyer from Philip Morris Tobacco stated, “This is not a decision on the merits”. Of course it wasn’t, because the industry’s petition raised no issue worthy of Supreme Court review so it was denied summarily.
Individual smokers cases can now proceed with judges being assured that the Florida Supreme Court’s opinion as a correct statement of the law.