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Big Tobacco

Tobacco bond repealer is again postponed, this time in House

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A House bill (HB 6011) that would repeal the cap on the amount of money tobacco companies have to put up as appellate bonds was “temporarily postponed” Thursday. With its Senate companion (SB 100) also indefinitely put off, the proposal’s fate is uncertain for the 2017 Legislative Session. The House version was slated to be heard in the Civil Justice & Claims Subcommittee, records show. Tobacco companies are required to put up bonds before they appeal unfavorable damages awarded to former smokers, but the…

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Senate bill would eliminate tobacco companies’ discounted appeals

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The Florida Legislature will consider legislation that would make it more expensive for tobacco companies to appeal verdicts in liability cases filed by smokers made sick or injured by their products. SB 100, filed by Sen. Greg Steube, contains just two lines: “Section 569.23, Florida Statutes, is repealed.” And “This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.” That section, enacted in 2009, caps the amount tobacco companies must post when appealing trial court verdicts against them. Supporters argued at the…

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Supreme Court agrees to hear smoke case

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The state’s highest court agreed to hear an appeal of a punitive damages award against the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in the case of a man who died from smoking, according to filings. The Florida Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction last Thursday, court dockets show. At trial, a jury found smoker James E. Schoeff 25 percent at fault in his death. He had “died from lung cancer ‘caused by his addiction to cigarettes,’ ” according to court documents.  It awarded his…

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Where does sh*t stand — the ‘legislative food fights’ edition

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Editor’s note: As the 2015 legislative session kicks into high gear, FloridaPolitics.com is continuing to report on several “legislative food fights” during the annual lawmaking period. These food fights don’t always make the front page of the traditional media outlets, but they are the kind of industry vs. industry or intra-industry turf battles that drive Tallahassee — and expand the field of play for state lobbyists. Here’s a look at where sh*t stands heading into the third week of session. Big…

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Charlie Crist appoints Steve Yerrid as special counsel for oil-spill response

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Fron the Orlando Sentinel: Gov. Charlie Crist Wednesday evening signed an executive order appointing Tampa lawyer Steve Yerrid as Florida’s special counsel handling the Deepwater Horizon oil-spill response. Yerrid is an LSU graduate who was part of Florida’s legal ”Dream Team” assembled by Gov. Lawton Chiles in 1995 to launch a landmark lawsuit against Big Tobacco. The move is the latest step Crist has taken toward potential litigation to recover economic losses incurred by the oil spill. He has also tapped two former state…

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