The case is LINDA PRENTICE, ETC. vs. R.J. REYNOLDS TOBACCO COMPANY and the Florida Supreme Court will hear it on Wednesday, June 3, 2021 at 10:20 AM. The crux of the case is regarding the jury instructions given in Duval County court; that R. J. Reynolds disclosed the potential harm its products can do to humans and Price continued to use their products.
In the plaintiff’s brief, they state, “As three other appellate courts recognize, because of the unique nature of the concealment conspiracy by the Engle defendants (tobacco companies), the progeny plaintiffs are not required to prove that they relied upon any specific misleading statements to establish their fraud-based claims. Rather, it is sufficient that the smoker was misled by the Engle defendants’ concealment of what they knew about the dangers and addictiveness of their product.”
After being diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Mr. John C. Price sued R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, claiming that his addiction to cigarettes since the age of 12 years old caused his COPD. Mr. Price later passed away at 74 years old, and after his death, the personal representative of his estate (Linda Prentice) maintained the lawsuit against the company as a wrongful death action. Prentice won the case with $6.4 million for Price’s estate in Duval County.
The lawsuit alleges multiple claims. At trial, the jury found R. J. Reynolds liable for some claims and awarded damages to the Price estate. R. J. Reynolds appealed to the First District Court of Appeal, arguing that its proposed jury instruction for one of the claims should have been used to instruct the jury. The First DCA agreed and remanded the case for a new trial. The Florida Supreme Court accepted this case based on arguments that the First DCA decision conflicts with other appellate court decisions.