Liggett Group Inc., et al. v. Engle

In 1994, a class-action suit was brought in Florida against most U.S. tobacco companies on the basis of numerous tort claims seeking compensatory and punitive damages for injuries caused by smoking.  After lengthy proceedings, a $145 billion punitive damages award for the class and a $12.7 million compensatory award for the three individual class representatives were given by the trial court.  This is the District Court of Appeal’s review and reversal of that award. 

The appellate court held the class was improperly certified as a class because the plaintiffs lacked the necessary preponderance of commonality between their claims. Additionally, the court held because of important differences in the claims, the class action procedure was not the superior procedure.  The court reversed the punitive award, holding that it was excessive as a matter of state and federal law; it was a result of improper inflammatory arguments by plaintiffs’ counsel; and it was barred by the State of Florida’s settlement with the tobacco industry regarding similar litigation.  The court failed to analyze the compensatory awards but reversed the entire decision and remanded it to be de-certified, forcing all plaintiffs to address their claims individually.


Liggett Group, Inc. v. Engle, 853 So.2d 434 (Fla. App., 2003)

  • United States
  • May 21, 2003
  • District Court of Appeal of Florida, Third District



  • Liggett Group Inc.
  • Brooke Group Ltd.
  • Philip Morris Inc.
  • Council for Tobacco Research-USA, Inc.
  • Tobacco Institute, Inc.
  • Lorillard Tobacco Company
  • Lorillard, Inc.
  • Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.
  • American Tobacco Company
  • R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

Defendant Howard A. Engle, M.D. et. al.

Legislation Cited

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues

Type of Tobacco Product