News & Insights

Cases & Deals

March 2, 2018

Victory for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in Engle Progeny Case


Plaintiff Doris Shadd filed a suit against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company alleging that her husband, Ralph Shadd, was addicted to Reynolds’ cigarettes and his addiction caused his cancer of the larynx and lung and subsequent death in 2007. Mr. Shadd began smoking around age 16 and smoked approximately two packs per day until he was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer and had his larynx removed in 1996. After a four -week jury trial, a K&S team led by W. Randall (Randy) Bassett obtained a victory on behalf of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in Palm Beach County, Florida.  On April 24, 2016, the jury returned a unanimous verdict finding that while Mr. Shadd was addicted to nicotine and his addiction caused his cancer and death, Mr. Shadd did not rely on any statement made by Reynolds or other tobacco companies that concealed information regarding the dangers of smoking.  The jury further found Mr. Shadd 95% at fault for causing his injuries and death and awarded his estate $0 in compensatory damages.  Finally, the jury returned a verdict for Reynolds on the question of whether plaintiff was entitled to punitive damages.