What if, in a case involving a single plaintiff, a corporate defendant in a mass tort litigation faces a single jury of six people that finds, in a special interrogatory, that the corporation’s product is defective? That single finding by six people on one jury could well result in a finding of defectiveness for the defendant’s product in perhaps thousands of other suits. Indeed, that finding may bind future juries, even if most subsequent juries may have found no product defect. That is because issue preclusion, or collateral estoppel, as it was previously known,’ would in the discretion of the trial court permit a plaintiff to use a single jury’s verdict against a defendant in a prior case to foreclose further litigation on the issue litigated. Indeed, the use of issue preclusion may gain renewed attention for mass tort management since the Florida Supreme Court’s 2006 decision in Engle v. Liggett Group, Inc., where a statewide tobacco class action jury found that, inter alia, defect and negligence would preclude further litigation on those issues in follow-up trials of former class members.

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