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NEW YORK -- Following the release of Lorillard Tobacco Co.'s second-quarter earnings, chairman, president and chief executive Marty Orlowsky announced the company is considering a request for the Florida Supreme Court to rehear the $145 billion Engle class-action suit that was recently decided, reported MarketWatch.
The $145 billion verdict that was appealed against five tobacco companies, including Lorillard, opened up a slew of potential lawsuits, even though the decision was seen as favorable, the report stated. By dismantling the class-action suit, smokers within the state can now pursue the companies without having to prove the addictive qualities of smoking or the fact the tobacco companies hid the dangers of smoking from consumers.
If there is a request, it must be made by Aug. 7, Orlowsky said. If that request is denied, the company can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to the report.
The request also brings $200 million in an escrow into question. The money was put in the account to benefit the class once the case was resolved. Now that the class doesn't exist due to the ruling, Lorillard may request it to be returned to them. Industry analysts expect that money to be used to repay debt to parent company Loews Corp. and then to increase its dividends, MarketWatch reported.
But with the potential request and additional appeals, "The Engle [case] has not been concluded," Orlowsky said.