Marlboro Lights cigarettesWhen the Florida Supreme Court overturned a $145 billion class action lawsuit settlement with tobacco companies in 2006 that would have held the companies liable for misleading consumers about the dangers of low-tar cigarettes, consumers were dismayed and tobacco companies rejoiced. However, the decision by the Florida high court still allowed individual lawsuits to be filed by customers alleging they were harmed by cigarettes, possibly putting tobacco companies on the hook for millions of dollars in settlements to individual Plaintiffs.

Now, six years later, the first of thousands of individual cigarette lawsuits is being heard by the Florida Supreme Court, which may reverse the emotional outcome of the 2006 Engle class action lawsuit settlement.

The tobacco liability lawsuit was filed by James Douglas, who maintains Phillip Morris, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and Liggett Group, LLC are liable for the death of his wife, Charlotte, a smoker who died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung disease in 2008 at the age of 62.

A jury trial awarded Douglas $2.5 million in the cigarette wrongful death lawsuit based on procedures the Supreme Court established in the 2006 Engle class action lawsuit case. Even though the high court overturned the Engle tobacco settlement, it upheld the Engle jury’s findings that tobacco companies knowingly sold dangerous products and hid the hazards of smoking from the public. The court ruled that the nearly 8,000 Class Members would have to file individual lawsuits, but said Plaintiffs would not have to prove those factors again in their individual cases. They would, however, have to prove illnesses such as cancer or disease linked to cigarette smoking.

Yesterday, the tobacco companies presented arguments before the Florida Supreme Court to overturn the $2.5 million wrongful death settlement awarded to Douglas. They also presented arguments that would make it harder for thousands of sick smokers or their survivors to win tobacco settlements stemming from the Engle decision.

A lawyer for the tobacco companies said Plaintiffs should be required to prove the cigarettes that they or their deceased relatives smoked were defective and what the defects were.

The justices questioned this argument, with one asking, “Your theory then is … that someone must go back and find the ashes of the burned cigarettes to prove that burned cigarette contained a defect?”

However, they also questioned Douglas’s attorney, saying they couldn’t understand how his wife’s addition to cigarettes “necessarily shows that the cigarettes she consumed from all of the defendants were defective and unreasonably dangerous.”

His attorney responded that, “All of the cigarettes contained the same defect.”

No decision was handed down yesterday, but the outcome of the appeal will be closely watched by both sides of the long-running tobacco liability litigation.

The case is Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. James L. Douglas, etc., Case No. 2D10-3236, District Court of Appeals of Florida, Second District.

Several consumer class action lawsuits are still pending against Phillip Morris and other tobacco companies, with some recent rulings proving favorable for Class Members. In March 2012, a Massachusetts federal judge refused to decertify a class action lawsuit asking Phillip Morris to provide medical screening to for early signs of lung cancer. And in May 2011, a Missouri federal judge certified a Marlboro Lights class action lawsuit alleging Phillip Morris misled consumers about the amount of nicotine and tar the “light” cigarettes delivered.

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Please note: Top Class Actions is not a settlement administrator or law firm. Top Class Actions is a legal news source that reports on class action lawsuits, class action settlements, drug injury lawsuits and product liability lawsuits. Top Class Actions does not process claims and we cannot advise you on the status of any class action settlement claim. You must contact the settlement administrator or your attorney for any updates regarding your claim status, claim form or questions about when payments are expected to be mailed out.



  • Anonymous October 17, 2012

    Looking to join a class action suit involving Tabacco and smoking.

    Live in Brooklyn, New York City.

    Thank you

    • susan B January 16, 2014

      Have you found a class action suit yet? If you have would you let me know. If i hear of one i will let you know.I check pretty often but can not find as of yet. Thank you

  • E T Mendoza January 31, 2013

    Looking to join a class action suit involving tobacco, smoking, and sickness from second-hand smoke. Live in Texas. Are there any current open class action lawsuits that I can join?

  • Shellie M. James March 28, 2013

    Looking to join a class action suit involving tabacco smoking. My husband smoked for 56 years and died from lung cancer. Live n Florida. Are there any current open class action lawsuits that I can join? Thank ou very much.

  • David Martin April 16, 2013

    My mother was a lifelong smoker… She eventually died from copd complications… She was given an inhaler as well as sleep breathing treatment… She wanted to quit smoking but never did which resulted in the disease which ended up killing her….

  • CAROL WIGHTMAN August 19, 2013


  • bobby choate September 5, 2013

    my father in law is dying from COPD is there any class action lawsuit to join

  • jimmy g. September 23, 2013

    i smoked for 47 years. very lucky to be here today with all the operations i had.its time to make the tabacco co. get off ther pitty pottys and my 5 hospitel bills, my 12 or 15 dr,s and meds. mutch longer is it going to take ? gkzs9

  • rodney hill September 30, 2013

    I been smoking cigerattes for 20 + years. I have attempted to quit several times but I am addicted. they need to take them off the market.

  • mary robertson November 11, 2013

    I need some people to help file class action law suit please call me at 9197760538 or email

  • L.R. Scott January 11, 2014

    The tobacco companies have admitted wrong and illicit action … I have emphysema, which is incurable. Are there any current open class action lawsuits that I can join?

    I appreciate any help please.

    • susan B January 16, 2014

      I have lung cancer. I can not find one either. If i hear of one i will let you know.

  • Addie Ross February 28, 2014

    Hello. My name is Addie Ross. My husband C.B. Ross died of lung Cancer after years of smoking Camel ciggarites . He suffered a horrible death Jan. 20, 1981. He and I married young, I can remember the commericials he use say that lured him into the bad addiction of smoking. I watched my bestfriend suffer gasping,whezzing, and begging for help. I was a nurse but theres nothing I could do. But now I am 83 years old and now I can help him. I will fight until my death for him with the same vigor that he fought for this country in World WarII. I still see his eyes and his arms strecthed out reaching for me. I am going to fight for my best friend, lover and husband of 36 years.

  • Lorenzo Damore April 10, 2014

    I would like to know what class action lawsuit are available for every member who smoked cigarettes all their lives.Starting at an early age 11 years old my Dad is 68 years old.He has been suffering cigarette related problems.Congestive heart failure.clogged arteries lack of oxygen needs oxygen machine to breathe.for the last three years of his life.He has been admitted to different Hospitals and he just had 4 surgeries.Stents bypass surgery and diffibulater

  • Barb July 26, 2014

    husband of 25 years died of lung cancer in December. He was 59 and had smoked since he was 11. Are there any class action lawsuits in Michigan or do I even have a case??

    • Jessica March 20, 2015

      Have you found one yet Barb? My dad passed just last week from lung cancer at 60 and was a smoker for close to 50 years.

  • Ray July 29, 2014

    My wife died at age 49 in Dec 2008 due to lung cancer from smoking. Are there any law suits that I can join or start?

  • Judy Abern August 10, 2014

    My dad was 51 when he passed away from emphysema and lung disease from years of smoking. It was a long horrible death. Is there lawsuit I can join?

  • ANGEL IN CALIFORNIA August 19, 2014


  • Catherine September 11, 2014

    Hello does anyone know of any class action lawsuits against tobacco. I was diagnosed with emphysema and COPD at 29 . This was all due to smoking. Thank you.

  • mary helen robertson September 26, 2014

    Ihave smoked marlboro lights and now have bladder cancer would like to join a class law suit

  • Jennifer Deweese December 30, 2014

    I have COPD, I have never smoked a day in my life, but everyone around me has. My life has changed drastically since this mess began, I am on a nebulizer now 4 times a day, minimum, plus inhalers. I no longer have a life that is even worth living. This comes after already having chronic bronchial asthma. I hope to find an attorney who will take my case. I don’t even know where to begin.

  • ANGEL IN CALIFORNIA January 7, 2015


  • Sherrie LaBat February 19, 2015

    I started smoking at age 12 and now at age 55 I have end stage COPD. How can I get in on the law suit?

  • Debra neff April 21, 2015

    Have been on oxygen since 2008 and all med for copd , I am very sick this past year , dr wants me to have lung transplant all this from smoking, I have tried to quite several times over the years but very addicting, I am 58 . If you can help in any way please let me know. Thank you

  • Susan May 20, 2015

    I a 55 and have stage 4 emphysema I was diagnosed 4 years ago. I struggle every day. I am on the transplant list and first looking at lung reduction. I was a Marlboro menthol light and reg lights for 35 years. I am so angry at the tobacco companies for saying lights were better wrong they were worse which gave me emphysema spread though out my lungs. I am looking currently looking to find an attorney in the state of Wisconsin.

  • Hector Maldonado June 9, 2015

    Would like to know if there is a class action suit currently againest the tobacco company.

  • robert August 9, 2015

    Hello my name is Robert. My father Charlie is in the hospital fighting for his life,doctors say he is in stage 4 lung cancer. He cant breath on his own so he has tubes down his throat and this machine is doing the breathing for him. The oxygen level was at 100% and has gradually been nturned down to 55% over the full 7 day week he has been here. It isn’t fair and is so heart wrenching that I have to witness my fathers pain and suffering at the hands of these big shot tobacco companies. You people that roll and sell these cigarettes to people must be so proud of all the big money you’ve raked in and bodies you’ve staked up in the process of youre success.

  • Velda December 3, 2015

    I would be interested in knowing if you have been included on any class action lawsuits. I, too, had parents who smoked in the home (mom til I was about 8 or 9 and dad until I was about 16). I never smoked in my life at all but I was exposed to second had smoke well into my 20s since the university allowed smoking in the building and even the classrooms. I also went to night clubs in the 70s and the smoke was thick and heavy. I never knew about second hand smoke and the hazards. I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 21 but now at 60, I have been diagnosed with stage 2 emphysema. We have been trying to find the right medication to control it. I have an enlarged heart chamber that the doctor feels is best helped by controlling the emphysema. I guess I am still in the anger phase that follows any terrible diagnosis.

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