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R.J. Reynolds Attempt To Shed Liability Thwarted By Appeals Court

Several Cigarettes in pack on the breadboard
Alexander Kharchenko/doomu
Adobe Stock
Several Cigarettes in pack on the breadboard

The Fourth District Court of Appeal has held R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company responsible for close to $100 million dollars owed to the State of Florida. The case stems from a 1997 settlement where cigarette makers agreed to pay the state because of smoking-related health costs. Reynolds thought it had escaped liability when it sold the cigarette brands to ITG Brands.

In Wednesday’s ruling judges agreed with an argument Elizabeth McCallum, the attorney representing ITG Brands, made during the trial.

“If you buy an asset you do not take obligations unless you expressly or impliedly agree to take those obligations," said McCallum

R.J. Reynolds sold four brands of cigarettes to ITG - Salem, Winston, Kool, and Maverick.

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Blaise Gainey is a Multimedia Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.