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Mass. Court Approves 'Light' Cigarette Suit

On the heels of last December's Supreme Court decision in Altria v Good, which preserved a Maine class action based on a purported violation of that state's business practices law for alleged duplicity in marketing "light" cigarettes, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial court yesterday unanimously approved a similar class action suit in the Bay State. Law.com has the details.

The suit, launched way back in 1998, claimed that Philip Morris engaged in deceptive marketing since Marlboro Lights did not in fact deliver lowered tar and nicotine to smokers (due to their tendency to puff harder and longer on the less potent cigs). The Massachusetts court found it to have been validated by the Good decision. But Philip Morris publicly claimed that the statutory suit could not produce the desired consumer damages. "Potential class members generally have no claim for damages because each of them paid the same price for Marlboro Lights as they would have paid for [higher-tar] Marlboros. In addition, many of these potential class members have continued to smoke Marlboro Lights [even after the company ceased using the phrase "lower tar and nicotine" on packages in 2003] despite their claims," argues Altria associate general counsel Murray Garnick.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.