RJR Vapor Denied New Trial in $95 Million Altria Verdict

Credit: Kristina Blokhin

RJ Reynolds Vapor Co. was denied a new trial on its September loss that awarded $95 million to Altria Group for its Vuse Alto e-cigarette’s infringement of three vape pod patents.

“That the jury did not agree with” Reynolds “does not mean the trial was unfair,” Judge N. Carlton Tilley Jr. wrote in an opinion issued Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, according to Bloomberg Law.

Tilley denied BAT subsidiary Reynolds’ motion for a new trial or to reduce the damages jurors awarded to Altria Client Services in their Sept. 7 verdict.

In its retrial request, Reynolds Vaper stated that “Altria’s improper injection of inflammatory evidence regarding patent infringement allegations against Reynolds in other cases denied Reynolds a fair trial. Erroneous evidentiary rulings also prejudiced Reynolds’ ability to present its defense. Those errors independently, and under the cumulative error doctrine, affected the verdict such that a complete new trial is required.”

Altria said in a statement that “this was a fair trial. There is no basis for another trial, and we are pleased that the jury correctly found that Reynolds Vapor has infringed a number of our patents.”