April 3, 2008: "Light" Cigarettes Class Action Denied
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has rejected class status for a lawsuit brought by cigarette smokers who claim they were deceived into believing that "light" cigarettes were healthier than "full-flavored" cigarettes. The court denied the class action on the grounds that too many individual issues of proof exist, making the class "not maintainable" under federal procedural rules. Read the Decision [PDF file]
November 28, 2006: Supreme Court Rejects 10.1 Billion "Light" Cigarette Verdict
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of a $10.1 billion verdict against "light" cigarette maker Philip Morris USA. Last year, the Illinois State Supreme Court overturned a March 2003 Madison County Court decision in favor of Illinois smokers who claimed that Philip Morris knew that "light" cigarettes were no healthier than regular cigarettes when the company introduced them in 1971. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Illinois Supreme Court's ruling that Philip Morris was not liable under state law, because the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) allows tobacco companies to use the terms "light" and "low tar," even if they are false or misleading.
November 1, 2006: 'Light'Cigarettes Ban on Hold
A federal appeals court in the District of Columbia blocked a judgmentagainst the tobacco industry, allowing tobacco companies to continue sellingand advertising their "light" and "low-tar" cigarettes until their appeals of alower court decision are heard. In August, a federal district court judge ruledthat tobacco companies had violated racketeering laws by misleading the publicabout the health effects of smoking. As part of that decision, the courtordered the tobacco companies to issue "corrective statements" and to stoplabeling cigarettes as "low-tar," "light," "ultra light," or "mild."
October 24, 2006:'Light' Cigarettes Case Under Review
A federal appeals court granted a temporary stay while it decideswhether a $200 billion class-action lawsuit over "light" cigarettes can proceedto trial. The lawsuit, which was grantedclass-action status in September, has been brought by "light" cigarette smokerswho allege that tobacco companies defrauded them into thinking light cigaretteswere safer than regular cigarettes. The defendant tobacco companies have arguedthat the term "light" refers to a lighter-tasting cigarette, and that consumers should understand the term's intended meaning.
Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.