Florida Tobacco Lawsuits / Engle Trust Fund

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Modified on 2009/10/14 21:52 by admin
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In a hearing on April 15, 2008, the Miami Court set a schedule for the allocation and distribution of assets of a $600 million dollar trust fund for Florida plaintiffs in the Engle class action litigation.  There are conditions for qualifying as an Engle class member in order to receive benefits from the trust for injuries related to tobacco.

Qualified Florida class members must register using the online form or register by mail no later than June 16, 2008.   There is a documentation submission deadline after registration as a class member of August 1, 2008.  All registration material and documentation must be submitted to the Engle claims administrator, the Garden City Group.

If you have any of the following conditions or diseases that relate to your past or current smoking, then you may be able to qualify as an Engle class member:
  • aortic aneurysm
  • bladder cancer
  • cerebrovascular disease (including stroke)
  • cervical cancer
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - COPD (including emphysema)
  • coronary heart disease (including cardiovascular disease, hardening of the arteries, atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease and arteriolosclerosis, angina, abnormal blood clotting, blood vessel damage, myocardial infarction (heart attack))
  • esophageal (throat) cancer
  • kidney cancer
  • laryngeal (throat or voice box) cancer
  • lung cancer (including adenocarcinoma, large cell carcinoma, small cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma)
  • complications of pregnancy (miscarriage)
  • oral cavity/tongue cancer
  • pancreatic cancer
  • peripheral vascular disease (including Buerger’s disease)
  • pharyngeal cancer
  • stomach cancer

The Garden City Group is the claims administrator appointed to carry out the procedural duties in the Engle trust settlement. Their website has a registration form that potential plaintiffs are urged to use.  The claim registration period is time-sensitive, so plaintiffs are strongly advised to act now by filling out the registration form.

Earlier in the course of the litigation of the Engle case, the lower court's decision to allow the trial jury's liability findings to apply to individually brought suits was a tremendous boon for subsequent litigants. The jury found that, among other things: cigarettes cause illness and disease; the defendants marketed products that were defective or unreasonably dangerous; the defendants knowingly made false or misleading statements; the defendants concealed or misrepresented facts about the addictive nature of cigarettes; all the defendant tobacco companies were negligent. With those issues decided in advance, a plaintiff now must prove only that cigarette smoking caused his particular illness. If you, or someone you know, qualify as a party meeting the court ruling parameters, now is the time to consult with an attorney in order to best protect your legal rights.

In a decision handed down by the Florida Supreme Court on July 6, 2006, the Court upheld a lower court ruling decertifying the class action status of long pending tobacco litigation known as the Engle case. But in doing so, the Court granted the rights for smokers to pursue their cases on an individual basis, providing the suits are brought within one year of the ruling. For those plaintiffs who bring suit pursuant to the ruling, perhaps the most beneficial issue decided by the Court was allowing the liability findings against the tobacco defendants by the trial court jury to stand. Thus, individual plaintiffs will not be under the burden to prove that the defendants are liable for their injuries, only that their injuries are related to cigarette smoking.

See Also

  1. Cigarettes & Tobacco
  2. Cancer
  3. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): Overview
  4. Emphysema: Overview
  5. Lung Cancer: Overview
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