857 F.3d 1169 (11th Cir. 2017), 13-14590, Graham v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

Docket Nº:13-14590
Citation:857 F.3d 1169, 26 Fla.L.Weekly Fed. C 1549
Opinion Judge:WILLIAM PRYOR, Circuit Judge:
Party Name:THERESA GRAHAM, as PR of Faye Dale Graham, deceased, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. R.J. REYNOLDS TOBACCO COMPANY, individually and as successor by merger to the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corporation and the American Tobacco Company, PHILIP MORRIS USA, INC., Defendants-Appellants
Attorney:For THERESA GRAHAM, Plaintiff - Appellee: Elizabeth Joan Cabraser, Jordan S. Elias, Richard M. Heimann, Kent L. Klaudt, Sarah Robin London, Scott Purington Nealey, Robert J. Nelson, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, SAN FRANCISCO, CA; Samuel Issacharoff, New York University School of Law, ...
Judge Panel:Before TJOFLAT, HULL, MARCUS, WILSON, WILLIAM PRYOR, MARTIN, JORDAN, ROSENBAUM, JULIE CARNES, and JILL PRYOR, Circuit Judges.[*] JULIE CARNES, Circuit Judge, concurring in part and dissenting in part. JULIE CARNES (In Part) JULIE CARNES, Circuit Judge, concurring in part and dissenting in part: T...
Case Date:May 18, 2017
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
SUMMARY

Federal tobacco laws do not preempt state tort claims based on the dangerousness of all the cigarettes manufactured by the tobacco companies. The Florida Supreme Court upheld the jury verdicts of negligence and strict liability in Engle v. Liggett Group, Inc., 945 So. 2d 1246 (Fla. 2006) (Engle III), and decertified the class to allow individual actions about the remaining issues. In this case, R.... (see full summary)

 
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Page 1169

857 F.3d 1169 (11th Cir. 2017)

26 Fla.L.Weekly Fed. C 1549

THERESA GRAHAM, as PR of Faye Dale Graham, deceased, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

R.J. REYNOLDS TOBACCO COMPANY, individually and as successor by merger to the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corporation and the American Tobacco Company, PHILIP MORRIS USA, INC., Defendants-Appellants

No. 13-14590

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

May 18, 2017

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          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. D.C. Docket No. 3:09-cv-13602-MMH-JBT.

         For THERESA GRAHAM, Plaintiff - Appellee: Elizabeth Joan Cabraser, Jordan S. Elias, Richard M. Heimann, Kent L. Klaudt, Sarah Robin London, Scott Purington Nealey, Robert J. Nelson, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, SAN FRANCISCO, CA; Samuel Issacharoff, New York University School of Law, NEW YORK, NY; Frederick C. Baker, Rebecca M. Deupree, Lance V. Oliver, Motley Rice, LLC, MOUNT PLEASANT, SC; Kathryn E. Barnett, Law Office of Morgan & Morgan, NASHVILLE, TN; Janna M. Blasingame, Stephanie J. Hartley, Richard Lantinberg, Edward I. Warren, Norwood Wilner, The Wilner Firm, PA, JACKSONVILLE, FL; Kenneth S. Byrd, Andrew R. Kaufman, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, NASHVILLE, TN; Charles Easa Farah, Jr., Farah & Farah, PA, JACKSONVILLE, FL; Jason L. Lichtman, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, NEW YORK, NY; Donald Alan Migliori, Motley Rice, LLC, PROVIDENCE, RI.

         For R.J. REYNOLDS TOBACCO COMPANY, individually and as successor by merger to the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corporation and The American Tobacco Company, Defendant - Appellant: Stephanie Ethel Parker, Jason Todd Burnette, David M. Monde, John M. Walker, John F. Yarber, Jones Day, ATLANTA, GA; Keri Arnold, Arnold & Porter, LLP, NEW YORK, NY; Cecilia M. Bidwell, Bonnie C. Daboll, Cathy Ambersley Kamm, James B. Murphy, Jr., Terri Lynn Parker, Shook Hardy & Bacon, LLP, TAMPA, FL; Dana G. Bradford, II, Smith Gambrell & Russell, LLP, JACKSONVILLE, FL; Andrew Brenner, Mark Jurgen Heise, Stephen N. Zack, Boies Schiller & Flexner, LLP, MIAMI, FL; Joshua Reuben Brown, Greenberg Traurig, LLP, ORLANDO, FL; Paul D. Clement, Kirkland & Ellis, LLP, WASHINGTON, DC; Karen C. Dyer, Boies Schiller & Flexner, LLP, ORLANDO, FL; Timothy James Fiorta, Jones Day, CLEVELAND, OH; William Patrick Geraghty, Kenneth J. Reilly, Shook Hardy & Bacon, LLP, MIAMI, FL; Khalil Gharbieh, David E. Kouba, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, LLP, WASHINGTON, DC; Stacey Koch Lieberman, Hughes Hubbard & Reed, LLP, MIAMI, FL; Hilary R. Mehrkam, Jones Day, WASHINGTON, DC; Charles Richard Allan Morse, Jones Day, NEW YORK, NY; Robert B. Parrish, Joseph W. Prichard, Jr., David C. Reeves, Jeffrey Alan Yarbrough, Moseley Prichard Parrish Knight & Jones, JACKSONVILLE, FL; Stephanie Sowers Sankar, Connor Jay Sears, Shook Hardy & Bacon, LLP, KANSAS CITY, MO.

         For PHILIP MORRIS USA, INC., Defendant - Appellant: Lauren R. Goldman, Mayer Brown, LLP, NEW YORK, NY; Keri Arnold, Michael Craig German, Ingo Sprie, Jr., Arnold & Porter, LLP, NEW YORK, NY; Renee Tyndell Beaver, Judith Bernstein-Gaeta, Khalil Gharbieh, Peter T. Grossi, Brittany E. Hamelers, David E. Kouba, M. Sean Laane, Derek Read Molter, Carolyn A. Pearce, Michael S. Tye, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, LLP, WASHINGTON, DC; Cecilia M. Bidwell, Bonnie C. Daboll, Cathy Ambersley Kamm, James B. Murphy, Jr., Terri Lynn Parker, Shook Hardy & Bacon, LLP, TAMPA, FL; Dana G. Bradford, II, Smith Gambrell & Russell, LLP, JACKSONVILLE, FL; Andrew Brenner, Mark Jurgen Heise, Patricia Melville, Stephen N. Zack, Boies Schiller & Flexner, LLP, MIAMI, FL; Joshua Reuben Brown, Greenberg Traurig, LLP, ORLANDO, FL; Karen C. Dyer, Boies Schiller & Flexner, LLP, ORLANDO, FL; Miguel A. Estrada, Amir Cameron Tayrani, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, LLP, WASHINGTON, DC; Roger C. Geary, Robert D. Homolka, Brian Alan Jackson, Stephanie Sowers Sankar, Connor Jay Sears, Shook Hardy & Bacon, LLP, KANSAS CITY, MO; William Patrick Geraghty, Hildy M. Sastre, I, Kenneth J. Reilly, Shook Hardy & Bacon, LLP, MIAMI, FL; Stacey Koch Lieberman, Hughes Hubbard & Reed, LLP, MIAMI, FL; Thomas W. Stoever, Jr., Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, DENVER, CO.

         For WASHINGTON LEGAL FOUNDATION, Amicus Curiae: Cory L. Andrews, Richard Abbott Samp, Washington Legal Foundation, WASHINGTON, DC.

         For PUBLIC JUSTICE, P.C.: F. Paul Bland, Jr., Public Justice, PC, WASHINGTON, DC.

         For CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ALABAMA CIVIL JUSTICE REFORM COMMITTEE, AMERICAN TORT REFORM ASSOCIATION, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF ALABAMA, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MANUFACTURERS, Amici Curiae: John Beisner, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, LLP, WASHINGTON, DC.

         For TOBACCO CONTROL LEGAL CONSORTIUM: Robert Cecil Gilbert, Kopelowitz Ostrow Ferguson Weiselberg Gilbert, CORAL GABLES, FL.

         For ENGLE STATE PLAINTIFFS' FIRMS, Amicus Curiae: John Stewart Mills, Courtney Rebecca Brewer, The Mills Firm, TALLAHASSEE, FL; Steven L. Brannock, Celene Harrell Humphries, Maegen P. Luka, Brannock & Humphries, PA, TAMPA, FL; Kenneth S. Canfield, Doffermyre Shields Canfield & Knowles, LLC, ATLANTA, GA; Philip John Padovano, Brannock & Humphries, TALLAHASSEE, FL.

         For AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY CANCER ACTION NETWORK, AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION, AMERICANS FOR NONSMOKERS' RIGHTS, CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COUNTY AND CITY HEALTH OFFICIALS, TOBACCO CONTROL LEGAL CONSORTIUM, TRUTH INITIATIVE, NAATPN INC., Amici Curiae: Rachel Bloomekatz, Gupta Wessler PLLC, WASHINGTON, DC.

         Before TJOFLAT, HULL, MARCUS, WILSON, WILLIAM PRYOR, MARTIN, JORDAN, ROSENBAUM, JULIE CARNES, and JILL PRYOR, Circuit Judges.[*] JULIE CARNES, Circuit Judge, concurring in part and dissenting in part.

          OPINION

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          WILLIAM PRYOR, Circuit Judge:

         This appeal presents the questions whether due process forbids giving a jury's findings of negligence and strict liability in a class action against cigarette manufacturers preclusive effect in a later individual suit by a class member and, if not, whether federal law preempts the jury's findings. Florida smokers and their survivors filed a class action against several tobacco companies, and after a year-long trial designed to answer common questions concerning the companies' tortious conduct against all members of the class, a jury found that each company had breached its duty of care and sold defective cigarettes. The Florida Supreme Court upheld the jury verdicts of negligence and strict liability in Engle v. Liggett Group, Inc., 945 So.2d 1246 (Fla. 2006) ( Engle III ), and decertified the class to allow individual actions about the remaining issues of specific causation, damages, and comparative fault. The Engle decision made clear that the jury findings of negligence and strict liability had preclusive effect in the later individual actions, and the Florida Supreme Court reaffirmed that ruling in Philip Morris USA, Inc. v. Douglas, 110 So.3d 419 (Fla. 2013). R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and Philip Morris USA Inc. challenge a jury verdict against them in one of those individual actions in the district court. They argue that giving the Engle findings preclusive effect violates the Due Process Clauses, U.S. Const. Amends. V, XIV, and they urge us to overrule our decision to the contrary in Walker v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 734 F.3d 1278 (11th Cir. 2013). They argue, in the alternative, that federal law preempts giving preclusive effect to the Engle findings of negligence and strict liability. Because we reaffirm our holding in Walker and conclude that federal law does not preempt the Engle jury findings, we affirm the judgments against R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In 1994, six individuals filed a putative class action in Florida court against the major domestic cigarette manufacturers, including R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris, and two tobacco industry organizations. Id. at 1281. They alleged claims of strict liability, negligence, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Id. The strict liability count alleged that the companies manufactured " cigarettes containing nicotine," " manufactured their defective tobacco products by manipulating the levels of nicotine so as to addict the consuming public," " failed to design, manufacture, distribute and sell a safer alternative cigarette that would not addict smokers," and " failed to warn" members of the class of the dangers. The negligence count alleged that the companies " breached their duty of reasonable care" through several " acts and omissions," including the " failure to design and manufacture products that were not addictive,"...

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