R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Appellant,
Patsy Elaine Davis, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Booker Terry Davis, deceased, Appellee.
final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County Lower
Tribunal No. 10-45478, William Thomas, Judge.
Day, Donald B. Ayer (Washington, DC), and Charles R.A. Morse
(New York, NY); Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, P.A., Benjamine
Reid, and Jeffrey A. Cohen, for appellant.
Freidin Brown and Philip Freidin; The Mills Firm, P.A., John
S. Mills and Courtney Brewer (Tallahassee); The Alvarez Law
Firm and Alex Alvarez; David J. Sales (Jupiter), for
EMAS, FERNANDEZ, and LUCK, JJ.
Reynolds Tobacco Company appeals the trial court's
decision to grant a new trial in the underlying wrongful
death tobacco case. We find the trial court abused its
discretion in ordering a new trial. We thus reverse the trial
court's order and remand the case for entry of judgment
for R.J. Reynolds in accordance with the jury's verdict.
In addition, we vacate the trial court's show-cause
plaintiff, Patsy Elaine Davis, is the personal representative
of the estate of her deceased husband, Booker Terry Davis.
Davis sued R.J. Reynolds for Booker's wrongful death.
Davis contended that Booker was a member of the class
certified in Engle v. Liggett Group, Inc., 945 So.2d
1246 (Fla. 2006), alleging that Booker contracted lung cancer
in 1994, as a result of his addiction to cigarettes
manufactured by R.J. Reynolds, and that he consequently died
trial, Davis had to prove that Booker was a member of the
Engle class; he was required to show that he was
addicted to smoking and that this was a legal cause of his
injuries. In order to prove this, Davis provided her own
testimony, as well as the deposition testimony of an
addiction expert. R.J. Reynolds countered this testimony by
calling its own addiction expert, Dr. Debra Barnett, to
testify that Booker was not addicted to cigarettes.
claims that at trial, during an examination of Dr. Barnett,
R.J. Reynolds's counsel referred to the outcome of
another tobacco case, Fanali v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco
Co., No. 50 2008 CA 000800 (Fla. 15th Cir. Ct. 2015),
which prejudicially affected the jury's verdict. During
cross-examination, Davis's counsel questioned Dr.
Barnett's credibility regarding her opinion that Booker
was not addicted to nicotine because, in Fanali, Dr.
Barnett testified that a smoker who smoked five packs of
cigarettes per day was not addicted. This exchange took
Q: And in all those cases [in which you previously
testified], those are cases where you found that there was no
A: Yes, that is true.
Q: Okay. And all of them-well, what's the least amount of
smoking in ...