Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Appeals court to review light cigarette case

CHICAGO -- A federal appeals court has decided to review a lower court ruling that let a $200 billion lawsuit filed by "light" cigarette smokers proceed as a class action, according to Reuters, citing a court document.

The court also stopped proceedings in the suit. The stay in the case, sought by Philip Morris USA, was issued as of Thursday, the court order said.

Defendants in the case include Altria Group Inc.'s PM USA unit; Reynolds American Inc.'s R.J. Reynolds tobacco Co.; Loews Corp.'s Lorillard Tobacco unit; Vector Group [image-nocss] Ltd.'s Liggett Group; and British American Tobacco Plc's British American Tobacco (Investments) Ltd.

In September, U.S. Senior District Judge Jack Weinstein in Brooklyn, N.Y., granted class-action status in the case, which would have allowed the suit to go forward on behalf of all U.S. "light" cigarette smokers. The suit argued that tobacco companies defrauded smokers into thinking "light" cigarettes were safer than regular cigarettes. Lawyers for the smokers argued that "lights" brought tobacco companies between $120 billion and $200 billion in extra sales.

Attorneys for the tobacco companies countered that there was no way to tell how many people relied on the word "light" when choosing cigarettes, and said the smokers could not be grouped together as a class action.

"I expect the class will eventually be decertified; this is a first indication of that eventuality," Charles Norton, co-portfolio manager of Mutuals Advisors Inc.'s Vice Fund, told Reuters.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a CSP member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content

Company News

U.S. Labor Department Sues Michigan 7-Eleven Operator, Franchisee Group President

Alleges inaccurate payroll record-keeping, failure to pay overtime, more

Company News

bp America Chairman, President Leaving Company

Lawler’s exit follows Looney’s resignation


Battling Lottery Theft in Store

Scratcher tickets an increasing source of retail losses


More from our partners