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Philip Morris USA Says ’Lights’ Cases Still Manageable; Many Strong Defenses Remain Available


Richmond, Va.- In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court today ruled that a lawsuit involving “lights” cigarettes brought under the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act was not barred by federal law.

“While we had hoped for a dismissal based upon federal preemption, it is important to note that the Supreme Court made no finding of liability. We continue to view these cases as manageable, and the company will assert many of the strong defenses used successfully in the past to defend against this very type of case,” said Murray Garnick, Altria Client Services senior vice president and associate general counsel, speaking on behalf of Philip Morris USA.

The Court said that the plaintiffs “still must prove that [the companies’] use of ’lights’ and ’lowered tar’ descriptors in fact violated the state deceptive practices statute.”

Today’s decision came in Altria Group, Inc. v. Good.


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