Arkansas court affirms class-action status in tobacco suit

AP News
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Posted: Feb 26, 2015 8:47 PM

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Supreme Court says a lawsuit against tobacco giant Philip Morris USA can proceed under class-action status.

The lawsuit seeks refunds on every pack of Marlboro Lights sold in Arkansas from 1971 to 2010. The plaintiffs claim Philip Morris, which is part of the Altria Group, deceived smokers about health risks.

The justices' 6-1 decision was released Thursday.

The company wants each case considered separately, saying some smokers bought the cigarettes for their taste, packaging or brand reputation — not for claims they had lower tar and nicotine.

Philip Morris also said courts elsewhere have rejected class-action status for similar claims.

The size of the class isn't known, but Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox warned in 2013 that it could be in the millions.