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The winning streak continues for Big Tobacco in the Engle progeny trials in Florida. On Thursday, a Broward County state court jury returned the sixth straight defense verdict, this time in a case brought by the son of a man who died after years of smoking. The defendants included Philip Morris USA, R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard, and Liggett Vector Brands. Howard Acosta, a solo practitioner who represented the Broward County plaintiff, told us jurors found that the decedent was addicted to cigarettes and that the defendants’ defective cigarettes caused his cancer. But they also found that the smoker was 100 percent responsible for his addiction and death. “It makes for a rather unusual verdict,” said Acosta, who added that he wasn’t sure whether he would appeal. Defense counsel included Sandra Ezell of Bowman and Brooke for Philip Morris; Stephanie Parker and John Walker of Jones Day for Reynolds; Daniel Malony, Timothy Congrove, and Geri Howell of Shook, Hardy & Bacon for Lorillard; and Michael Rosenstein of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman for Liggett. Thursday’s verdict was Philip Morris’s fifth Engle win this month. “The fact that five consecutive juries reached a defense verdict shows that Philip Morris USA still has powerful defenses in these cases even though the courts are improperly allowing plaintiffs to rely on a prior jury’s findings instead of proving their case at trial,” said Altria Client Services associate general counsel Murray Garnick in a statement on behalf of Philip Morris USA. Acosta said plaintiffs cannot match the financial resources of the tobacco defendants, whom he estimates are spending $5 million for every Engle case. “Unfortunately, money talks,” he said. “It’s difficult to keep up with that kind of money.” Nevertheless, he told us, plaintiffs lawyers are going to keep trying smoker suits in Florida. “If we win one out of ten, we’re doing okay,” said Acosta. “And we’ll win one out of ten.” Correction: An an earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Maria Ruiz of Kasowitz Bension represented Liggett. In fact, it was Michael Rosenstein of Kasowitz Benson. We regret the error.

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