Jun 27 2016

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company earned a complete defense verdict in a high-stakes smoking and health trial in Florida State Court.

Following a two-week trial, jurors needed only five hours to return a full defense verdict in Mooney v. R.J. Reynolds, et al. A Womble Carlyle team led by Randy Baringer represented Reynolds in the case.

The plaintiff, the family of a woman who died of small-cell lung cancer in 1993, sought up to $17 million in compensatory damages and entitlement to punitive damages. The family sued both Reynolds and Philip Morris claiming a nicotine addiction led to her death.

However, Baringer pointed out at trial that the woman only smoked Reynolds cigarettes sporadically and had stopped using the company’s products nearly a decade before she said she was addicted.

The trial is one of the thousands of so-called Engle-progeny cases pending against the tobacco industry in Florida state courts. 

Baringer was joined on-site by attorneys Chris Kreiner, Whitney Passmore and Jesse Smith, paralegal Wendy Larson and legal secretary Linda Williams. Valuable assistance from the Womble Carlyle Smoking & Health Team and FirmLogic helped to secure the victory.

The trial was broadcast online by Courtroom View Network and their summary of the verdict can be found by clicking here.

Randy Baringer is an experienced litigator with particular emphasis on product liability litigation. His primary practice has been in the area of tobacco litigation on behalf of R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, having twenty years of experience litigating individual plaintiff cases, state Medicaid reimbursements cases, and complex class actions.

Chris Kreiner is a trial lawyer who has spent his career defending clients in product liability and personal injury litigation. He has worked for more than a decade on cases throughout the United States, including New York, California, Florida, Mississippi, Missouri and Washington, D.C., in both federal and state courts.

Whitney Passmore defends companies in complex mass tort and product liability cases. She has been involved in all phases of litigation including development of defense strategy, discovery, trial, and post-trial proceedings. She has particular experience defending individual and class action claims involving corporate conduct, product development, and medical and scientific issues. 

Jesse Smith is a product liability litigation attorney who focuses on smoking and health defense litigation. Jesse researches and prepares trial graphics for smoking and health defense teams. He has particular experience defending Engle class litigation in Florida.