Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Supreme Court Steps Into Cigarette Suit

The Supreme Court agreed Friday to a cigarette maker's request to decide whether tobacco companies can be sued under state law for allegedly deceptive advertising of "light" cigarettes. The tobacco industry is trying to head off a wave of state-based challenges regarding the light cigarettes, even as it is appealing a federal judge's order to stop marketing cigarettes as "low tar", "light", "ultra light" or "mild" because they mislead consumers. The issue before the justices is whether state laws against unfair marketing practices may be used in suits against the tobacco companies or whether federal law bars such lawsuits. The Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act says states can't impose any requirements on the advertising or promotion of cigarettes. A Federal judge initially thew out a suit filed by three Maine residents against Altria Group Inc. and its Philip Morris USA Inc. subsidiary that alleged the advertising of light cigarettes was unfair and deceptive.

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