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8-K
ALTRIA GROUP, INC. filed this Form 8-K on 02/01/2018
Entire Document
 

Altria Group, Inc. and Subsidiaries
Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements
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Post-Trial Developments:
In December 2014, plaintiff filed a motion for a new trial. In May 2016, the court granted plaintiff’s motion for a new trial on punitive damages, citing the Soffer decision, discussed below under Engle Progeny Appellate Issues. In September 2016, the court denied defendants’ post-trial motions.
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Plaintiff: Boatright
Date:    November 2014

Verdict:
A Polk County jury returned a verdict against PM USA and Liggett Group awarding plaintiff $15 million in compensatory damages and allocating 85% of the fault to PM USA (an amount of approximately $12.75 million). In addition, in November 2014, the jury awarded plaintiff approximately $19.7 million in punitive damages against PM USA and $300,000 in punitive damages against Liggett Group.

Post-Trial Developments:
In November 2014, PM USA filed various post-trial motions and, in January 2015, the trial court denied PM USA’s motions for a new trial and for remittitur, but entered final judgment with a deduction for plaintiff’s comparative fault. In February 2015, defendants filed a notice of appeal to the Florida Second District Court of Appeal and plaintiff cross-appealed. PM USA posted a bond in the amount of $3.98 million. In April 2017, the Florida Second District Court of Appeal rejected PM USA’s grounds for appeal and affirmed the judgment, but ruled that the trial court should not have applied the comparative fault deduction. The court remanded the case to the trial court to amend the judgment to award plaintiff the full amount of the jury’s compensatory damages award and also separately ruled that plaintiff is entitled to attorneys’ fees. In May 2017, defendants filed notices to invoke the discretionary jurisdiction of the Florida Supreme Court on the merits and on the attorneys’ fees issue. The Florida Supreme Court stayed consideration of its jurisdiction on the merits appeal pending its ruling in Schoeff, discussed below under Engle Progeny Appellate Issues. In December 2017, the Florida Supreme Court held in Schoeff that comparative fault does not reduce compensatory damages awards for intentional torts. PM USA intends to request that the Florida Supreme Court remand the case to the Second District Court of Appeal for further consideration.
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Plaintiff: Kerrivan
Date:    October 2014

Verdict:
A jury in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida returned a verdict against PM USA and R.J. Reynolds awarding plaintiff $15.8 million in compensatory damages and allocating 50% of the fault to PM USA. The jury also awarded plaintiff $25.3 million in punitive damages and allocated $15.7 million to PM USA.

Post-Trial Developments:
The trial court entered final judgment without any deduction for plaintiff’s comparative fault. In December 2014, defendants filed various post-trial motions, including a renewed motion for judgment or for a new trial. Plaintiff agreed to waive the bond for the appeal. In May 2015, the trial court deferred further briefing on the post-trial motions pending the Eleventh Circuit’s final disposition in the Graham and Searcy cases, discussed below under Engle Progeny Appellate Issues. In June 2017, the trial court lifted the stay on the post-trial motions.
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Plaintiff: Berger
Date:    September 2014

Verdict:
A jury in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida returned a verdict against PM USA awarding plaintiff $6.25 million in compensatory damages and allocating 60% of the fault to PM USA. The jury also awarded $20.76 million in punitive damages.

Post-Trial Developments:
The trial court entered final judgment in September 2014 without any deduction for plaintiff’s comparative fault. In October 2014, plaintiff agreed to waive the bond for the appeal. Also in October 2014, PM USA filed a motion for a new trial or, in the alternative, remittitur of the jury’s damages awards. In April 2015, the trial court granted PM USA’s post-verdict motion in part and vacated the punitive damages award. In November 2015, the court entered final judgment with a deduction for plaintiff’s comparative fault. In April 2016, plaintiff filed a motion to reinstate the jury’s punitive damages award or, alternatively, for a new trial on punitive damages, citing the Soffer decision, discussed below under Engle Progeny Appellate Issues. Also in April 2016, PM USA filed a motion to stay post-trial proceedings pending the Eleventh Circuit’s final disposition in the Graham case, discussed below under Engle Progeny Appellate Issues.


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