U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number



Cert. Denied


Questions Presented

1. Whether the Due Process Clause prohibits a state court from giving preclusive effect to a jury verdict when it is impossible to discern which of numerous alternative grounds formed the basis for the jury’s findings of wrongful conduct.

2. Whether, merely by invoking characterizations such as “fraud” or “negligence,” a plaintiff may evade federal preemption under the Supreme Court’s ruling in Cipollone v. Liggett Group, Inc., 505 U.S. 504 (1992), which holds that the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act preempts state-law liability based, inter alia, on allegations that cigarette manufacturers failed to warn about the dangers of smoking or marketed cigarettes in ways that “neutralized” the federally mandated warnings.

Case Updates

Cert. petition denied

October 01, 2007

U.S. Chamber urges Supreme Court to review preclusive effect of liability findings after class decertification

August 15, 2007

NCLC urged the Supreme Court to review a Florida Supreme Court’s decision that retained broad findings of liability even though it decertified the class action that produced those findings. This tobacco class action began its travel through the appellate world with a $145 billion punitive damages verdict. The Florida Supreme Court correctly decertified the class because of the need for individualized proof but reinstated much of the judgment for any future lawsuit filed by any individual member of the class. In itsbrief, NCLC argued that the Florida Supreme Court’s so-called “pragmatic solution” departs sharply from traditional norms of fair adjudication, elevates expediency above due process, and places businesses in peril of being coerced into global settlements—even where they have no actual liability.

Case Documents