The tobacco company R.J. Reynolds came before the Florida Supreme Court Thursday in two back-to-back liability cases. Even though the cases raise different questions, they both spring from a class action suit begun in mid-nineties.
The two tobacco cases stem from the so-called Engle case. Engle started as a class action lawsuit, and the courts eventually did rule against the tobacco companies. But to award damages, the state Supreme Court decided to split the class up, leading to thousands of individual cases like the two heard Thursday.