After a Florida court issued the latest appellate ruling Tuesday in the so-called Engle progeny tobacco litigation, news headlines cast the ruling as a victory for defendant R.J. Reynolds. And it’s true that the opinion contained some good news for RJR and its lawyers at Jones Day: A panel of the state’s 1st District Court of Appeal overturned a $40.8 million punitive damages award won by the widow of Frank Townsend, ruling that the cigarette maker could seek a new trial on punies or allow the lower court to grant a reduced award.

But in the context of the larger Engle litigation, the ruling hardly counts as big win for the tobacco industry. The appellate court upheld by 2-1 the trial court’s $10.8 million compensatory damages award, $5.5 million of which was apportioned to the smoker’s estate based on the jury’s findings. While the majority found that the $40.8 punitive award was “excessive,” it suggested that a $25 million punitive award in a parallel case was not excessive. And perhaps most importantly, the panel rejected outright RJR’s argument that the Florida courts are violating its due process rights in the Townsend case and thousands of related suits.

There are about 8,000 smoker suits pending in state and federal court in Florida, all stemming from a 2006 Florida Supreme Court ruling that vacated a $145 billion class action verdict in the original Engle case. The Engle court decertified the class of smokers, but it ruled that in future trials the individual plaintiffs wouldn’t have to prove that cigarettes are addictive or that their manufacturers hid the dangers of smoking.

The tobacco industry has been fighting that holding on multiple fronts ever since, and in December RJR and Philip Morris filed five U.S. Supreme Court petitions for certiorari challenging the Florida appellate courts’ interpretation of the Engle ruling. (Read the petitions here.) In a cert petition tied to a case we’ve covered previously, RJR’s lawyers at Jones Day and Bancroft LLC argued that the Florida courts violated the company’s due process rights by applying the Engle jury’s findings of product defect, negligence, and concealment to claims that were never specifically decided in the Engle case.

“In effect, the First District extended preclusion to any issue that the Engle jury reasonably could have resolved against the defendants,” RJR contends in the petition. “Such a ruling would be remarkable even in a case where a verdict could have rested on two alternative theories of liability; in a case where the verdict could have rested on dozens if not hundreds of alternative theories, it is nothing short of stunning.” Defendants have already been hit with over $375 million in unfair judgments in 60 Engle progeny cases, the lawyers contend, and the litigation is just getting warmed up.

Steven Brannock of Brannock & Humphries handled the Townsend appeal for the plaintiffs, arguing opposite Jones Day’s Gregory Katsas. Brannock suggested that the Supreme Court may decide that the tobacco companies’ due process claims aren’t ripe for review, especially since the first federal court Engle progeny cases are just heading to trial this month. In any case, he said, the defendants litigated the original Engle case for well over a decade and took full advantage of their rights to due process. “I don’t think there’s anything unfair about [the negligence, defect, and concealment findings] having been settled and the tobacco companies having to live with that decision,” said Brannock.

We left a message for Stephanie Parker of Jones Day, lead counsel for RJR in the Engle litigation, but we didn’t immediately hear back. (Trial junkies curious about how Parker and lawyers on both sides have fared in the litigation so far can check out Courtroom View Network’s handy collection of Engle trading cards.)