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FLORIDA COURT WON’T REHEAR TOBACCO SUIT MIAMI — A Florida appeal court has announced it will not hear any more arguments about its decision to throw out a record-setting $145 billion verdict won by a group of Florida smokers against some of the nation’s largest cigarette companies. In an order dated Monday, the three judges who issued a May ruling that also decertified the smokers’ class denied a plaintiffs’ motion for rehearing as well as a motion to certify the case to the Florida Supreme Court as an issue of great public importance. The panel consisted of Third District Court of Appeal Judges David Gersten, David Levy and Mario Goderich. The court also denied a motion to rehear the case en banc. The order did not say why the court declined to take another look. “We are very pleased and gratified by the court’s ruling,” said Elliot Scherker, a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig in Miami who represented the tobacco companies in the appeal. The remaining option for Miami lawyers Stanley and Susan Rosenblatt, the husband and wife who represented the estimated 700,000 class members, is to seek review by the Florida Supreme Court. But the only way the high court can take jurisdiction is for the Rosenblatts to prove that the Third District’s opinion conflicts with another appellate district, legal experts say. “The Third District’s decision is based on very well-established principals of law,” Scherker said. “We are confident that there is no basis for a claim of conflict.” If the Florida Supreme Court denies review, the Rosenblatts can petition the U.S. Supreme Court. Stanley Rosenblatt declined comment, but in court papers, he accused Judge Gersten of lifting entire passages of arguments submitted to the court by the industry, and using the language as the basis for tossing the verdict. — Miami Daily Business Review

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