Defense Verdict in Junious Tobacco Trial

Posted by msch on Oct 24, 2011 7:14:00 PM

Alex Alvarez Gary Paige Bill Geraghty Robert Faxon AttorneysJunious v. R.J. Reynolds (Miami, Florida)

Shook Hardy Bacon and Jones Day cleared Philip Morris of liability in the Junious Engle tobacco trial in Miami.

Annie Ingraham started smoking in 1957 at age 18.  In 1996 she was diagnosed with COPD (emphysema), and she died in 2008 of COPD caused by smoking. Annie's daughter Toni Junious was the plaintiff in the case. According to plaintiff attorney Alex Alvarez, Ms. Ingraham cared about her health and thought that the cigarette filters would keep her safe -- she even bought a filter adapter.

Shook Hardy Bacon's Bill Geraghty told the jury that Ms. Ingraham knew from an early age that smoking was dangerous, and reminded the jury, "The plaintiff has already admitted to you that Ms. Ingraham takes responsibility for the decisions she made...They agree that Miss Ingraham could have quit smoking...and she could have quit smoking in time to avoid developing COPD and her death. That's what that admission means in this case. The evidence will show that that admission tells you everything that you need to know about who ultimately was in control."

In his closing statement for the plaintiff, Gary Paige told the jury that Ms. Ingraham tried to quit over and over again, at a time when anti-smoking aids like a nicotine patch were not available, whereas Philip Morris "built their business model on lies and human suffering to make billions of dollars, thereby creating the greatest public health problem that the nation has ever faced," and that therefore Philip Morris should bear some of the responsibility for what happened to Ms. Ingraham.

In his closing statement for R.J. Reynolds, Jones Day's Robert Faxon told the jury that Reynolds cigarettes (Pall Mall, Viceroy, and More) made up just a tiny part of Ms. Ingraham's smoking history, at the beginning and at the end. "There's no contention that Reynolds contributed in any way to Mrs. Ingraham's death." The only claim against RJR was based on concealment.

The jury found that cigarette addiction was not a legal cause of Ms. Ingraham's death.

The Junious case was Bill Geraghty's third consecutive Engle win (along with Oliva and Frazier). Robert Faxon marks a win in the first Engle case he has tried to a jury.

Gary Paige had previously won every Engle trial in which he had appeared (Hess, Sherman, Cohen, and Tate). This was Alex Alvarez' second loss in a row, after winning three straight (Hess, Sherman, and Tate).

Junious v RJR

CVN webcast the Junious Engle tobacco trial live.

Topics: Toxic Torts, Products Liability, Engle Progeny, Tobacco Litigation