Update: seeking review of Engle dismissal

To no one’s surprise, plaintiff’s lawyers Stanley and Susan Rosenblatt are seeking en banc review by an 11-member Florida appeals court of the demise of their $145 billion verdict against the tobacco industry in Engle v. R.J. Reynolds. (“Florida smokers to appeal $145 billion lawsuit”, Reuters/Forbes.com, Jul. 16). Perhaps hinting at desperation, their banner argument is that the appeals panel engaged in “judicial plagiarism” because it adopted wholesale in its opinion vast tracts of language from defense briefs — even though this particular form of supposed plagiarism is entirely routine in court opinions when judges consider one side’s briefs convincing and do not expect that they will be able to improve on the style of the briefs’ presentation (Siobhan Morrissey, “A Case of Judicial Plagiarism?”, ABA Journal E-Report, Aug. 1). More: Gary Young, “Plagiarism Charges Plague Tobacco Decision”, National Law Journal, Aug. 21. Update May 15, 2004: Fla. Supreme Court agrees to hear case.

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