An Oregon court declined to grant class-action status to a lawsuit brought by a group of Marlboro Lights smokers against Philip Morris, a unit of Altria Group Inc., USA.
According to the report of the Associated Press, they cited the large number of individual issues that would need to be considered in the case.
The case, filed by Marilyn Pearson and Laura Grandin, alleged Philip Morris, violated state laws by misleading smokers into believing Marlboro Lights delivered less tar and nicotine than full-tar cigarettes when the company knew the cigarettes did not, reported the AP.
According to Judge Wilson, the evidence presented to the court showed smokers may receive different amounts of tar and nicotine from different cigarettes in the same pack, depending upon a number of variables and thus it does not meet the qualifications for class certification.
As a result, the judge concluded each member of the class would need to prove whether the Marlboro Lights he or she smoked delivered lowered tar and nicotine, according to the report.
Jim Coon, an attorney at Swanson Thomas & Coon, who is representing the plaintiffs,
told the AP, “We believe the plaintiffs were affected in the same way,” and thus expressed his disappointment in the court’s decision.
He explained that the plaintiffs purchased the cigarettes expecting that the cigarettes were inherently lower in tar and nicotine, not just “possibly” lower in these substances.
The case in Oregon is similar to a number of other lawsuits filed in courts around the country. So far, the record for these cases has been mixed, with some courts granting class status to lawsuits and others rejecting it.