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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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Plaintiff: Calloway
Date:     May 2012

Verdict:
A Broward County jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiff and against PM USA, R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard and Liggett Group. The jury awarded approximately $21 million in compensatory damages and allocated 25% of the fault against PM USA. The jury also awarded approximately $17 million in punitive damages against PM USA, approximately $17 million in punitive damages against R.J. Reynolds, approximately $13 million in punitive damages against Lorillard and approximately $8 million in punitive damages against Liggett Group.

Post-Trial Developments:
In May and June 2012, defendants filed motions to set aside the verdict and for a new trial. In August 2012, the trial court denied the remaining post-trial motions, reduced the compensatory damages to $16.1 million and entered final judgment without any deduction for plaintiff’s comparative fault. In September 2012, PM USA posted a bond in an amount of $1.5 million and defendants filed a notice of appeal to the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal. In August 2013, plaintiff filed a motion to determine the sufficiency of the bond in the trial court on the ground that the bond cap statute is unconstitutional, which the court denied. In January 2016, a panel of the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal vacated the punitive damages award and remanded the case for retrial on plaintiff’s claims of concealment and conspiracy, and punitive damages. The court also found that the trial court should have applied the comparative fault deduction, reducing the compensatory damages against PM USA to $4.025 million. In February 2016, defendants and plaintiff filed respective motions for rehearing and rehearing en banc. In March 2016, plaintiff filed a notice of supplemental authority citing the Soffer decision, discussed below under Engle Progeny Appellate Issues. In September 2016, the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal, ruling en banc, reversed the judgment against PM USA and R.J. Reynolds in its entirety on the grounds that improper arguments by plaintiff’s counsel deprived defendants of a fair trial, and ordered a new trial. In October 2016, plaintiff filed a notice to invoke the discretionary jurisdiction of the Florida Supreme Court, which the court denied in March 2017. In June 2017, plaintiff filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court seeking review of the 2016 en banc ruling by the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal, which the court denied in October 2017.
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Plaintiff: Putney
Date:     April 2010

Verdict:
A Broward County jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiff and against PM USA, R.J. Reynolds and Liggett Group. The jury awarded approximately $15.1 million in compensatory damages and allocated 15% of the fault to PM USA (an amount of approximately $2.3 million). The jury also awarded $2.5 million in punitive damages against PM USA.

Post-Trial Developments:
In August 2010, the trial court entered final judgment with a deduction for plaintiff’s comparative fault. PM USA filed its notice of appeal to the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal and, in November 2010, posted a $1.6 million bond. In June 2013, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that the trial court erred in (1) not reducing the compensatory damages award as excessive and (2) not instructing the jury on the statute of repose in connection with plaintiff’s conspiracy claim that resulted in the $2.5 million punitive damages award. In July 2013, plaintiff filed a motion for rehearing, which the Fourth District Court of Appeal denied in August 2013. In September 2013, both parties filed notices to invoke the discretionary jurisdiction of the Florida Supreme Court. In December 2013, the Florida Supreme Court stayed the appeal pending the outcome of the Hess case. In April 2015, the Florida Supreme Court rejected the statute of repose defense in Hess, and PM USA moved for a rehearing. In September 2015, the Florida Supreme Court denied PM USA’s rehearing petition in Hess. In February 2016, the Florida Supreme Court upheld the trial court’s decision in favor of plaintiff and, in March 2016, clarified that its February 2016 order reinstated the trial court’s decision on the statute of repose only. In August 2016, the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal reinstated the jury’s punitive damages verdict and reaffirmed that the compensatory damages award was excessive, remanding the case to the trial court to reduce the compensatory damages. In May 2017, the trial court ruled that the 2010 jury award of $15.1 million in compensatory damages was excessive and reduced the award to $225,000. In June 2017, plaintiff requested a new trial on compensatory damages.


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