The Massachusett’s highest court allowed potentially hundreds of thousands of smokers to mount a class-action lawsuit against Philip Morris Cos. Inc. contending that the cigarette maker duped them into believing that Marlboro Lights delivered lower tar and nicotine than regular cigarettes. The class will be composed of anyone in the state who since 1994 bought Marlboro Lights.
This lawsuit is one of eleven class actions filed alleging that tobacco makers for years had deliberately misled smokers of light cigarettes in violation of state consumer-protection laws. Last year, in the first such case to go to trial, an Illinois judge issued a $10.1 billion verdict against Philip Morris, concluding that the company had tricked smokers into thinking that Marlboro Lights were better for them than regular Marlboro cigarettes. Philip Morris appealed the verdict, and the Illinois Supreme Court is to hear arguments soon