R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. StidhamAnnotate this Case
Plaintiffs, individuals with lung cancer, attempted to join in one action claims against Defendants, asbestos and tobacco companies, alleging that their cancers were caused by their exposure to asbestos and smoking cigarettes. Specifically, Plaintiffs claimed claimed that “the combination of asbestos exposure and cigarette smoking acted in ‘synergy’ and multiplied the risk of developing lung cancer[.]” The trial court refused to permit joinder of the two sets of defendants on the special asbestos docket maintained by the court. The appellate issues dealt with how the trial implemented its decision to deny joinder, and the issues before the Supreme Court were largely procedural. The Court held (1) there was a final judgment in the case; (2) Plaintiff’s appeal, in any event, was moot and should be dismissed on that ground; and (3) the Court of Special Appeals did not err addressing the joinder argument made by Plaintiff for guidance of the lower court in other pending cases.