Florida Tobacco Trial Suspended as Coronavirus Impact Spreads

Posted by Arlin Crisco on Mar 16, 2020 12:28:09 PM


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Miami, FL—Trial against Philip Morris over the lung cancer death of a Florida woman has been suspended until the end of the month, part of coronavirus fallout that has disrupted courts across the country. Lipp v. Philip Morris, 2017-CA-018509.

The decision was made this weekend to suspend proceedings after six days of trial over the 1993 death of Norma Lipp, who smoked for more than four decades. Lipp’s family contends Philip Morris’s Virginia Slims cigarettes, which Lipp smoked for nearly a decade, and the company's part in a conspiracy to hide the dangers of smoking, caused her fatal cancer.  

The trial’s suspension follows Florida State Supreme Court Justice Charles Canady’s order Friday halting new proceedings across the state until March 30. That order allows for completion of trials already underway if the presiding judge, with approval of the chief judge, determines the interests of justice warrant proceeding without delay. However, 11th Circuit Court Judge Peter Lopez, presiding over the Lipp case, stopped the trial during the period affected by the order. 

Courts across the country have halted proceedings in response to the coronavirus, COVID-19, which has been diagnosed in more than 3,500 people throughout the nation. However, questions surrounding how long the virus’s worst impact will last have led to an array of closure periods. While the Florida order currently extends until March 30, for example, many new proceedings in Atlanta area courts, including Fulton, DeKalb, and Cobb Counties, have been suspended for 30 days. 

CVN, which is covering and streaming the Lipp trial, will return to live coverage of the proceeding when it resumes.

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Topics: Lipp v. Philip Morris