Smokers Lawsuits Must Stay Separate: Judge

Tuesday, Nov 30, 2010  |  Updated 10:00 AM PDT
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Smokers Lawsuits Must Stay Separate: Judge

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JAKARTA, INDONESIA - FEBRUARY 6: An Indonesian man stubs a cigarette on February 6, 2009 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The Ulema Council, the top Islamic body in Indonesia, passed a 'fatwa' or religious edict restricting Muslims from smoking in public places last week. Whilst optional and non-binding, those non-compliant are considered sinful. Indonesia is the fifth largest tobacco market globally, and tobacco taxes make up around 10 per cent of the government's income. (Photo by Dimas Ardian/Getty Images)

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A federal judge in Maine has declined to grant class status to smokers who're suing Philip Morris and its parent company over light cigarettes.

U.S. District Judge John Woodcock ruled in a case brought on behalf of plaintiffs in Maine, Illinois, California and the District of Columbia. The ruling was issued the day before Thanksgiving.

The lawsuit contends smokers of Marlboro Lights, Virginia Slims Lights and other light cigarettes were misled into thinking that the cigarettes contained less tar and nicotine. Plaintiff lawyers hoped to consolidate the lawsuits in Maine.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that plaintiffs can use state consumer protection laws to sue cigarette makers. Maine plaintiff attorney Samuel Lanham Jr. says the ruling is being reviewed for a possible appeal.

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