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Florida Ruling Could Force Tobacco Sector's Hand In Engle Cases

Publication Date: 
March 22, 2013
Thomson Reuters News & Insight
Anna Louie Sussman

Professor Robert Rabin spoke with Reuters' Anna Louie Sussman on how aggressive litigation by tobacco companies is the reason why fewer than a hundred cases have reached judgement over the past seven years. 

A new Florida Supreme Court ruling rejects tobacco company arguments that their due process rights were violated by a 2006 decision allowing Florida smokers to use prior jury findings against the cigarette industry in order to file individual lawsuits.

The ruling leaves cigarette companies with no option but to bring the due process argument back to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has refused to review the issue twice in the past year, lawyers said.


Robert Rabin, a professor at Stanford Law School and a former director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program on Tobacco Policy Research and Evaluation, said the tobacco companies' aggressive litigation in individual cases was one reason why fewer than a hundred cases had reached judgment in the seven years since Engle was first decided.

"A capable defense attorney can really string out a case both in terms of delay and cost," said Rabin. "These cases remain expensive and time-consuming to bring."