Altria Wins a Round in Florida Lawsuit

An appeals court rules that a lawsuit by smokers does not qualify for class-action status.
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A Florida appeals court Wednesday ruled that a lower court erred in granting class-action status to a group of smokers' lawsuits against


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Philip Morris tobacco unit.

The case involves current and former users of the company's Marlboro Lights and Marlboro Ultra Lights in Florida, who claim the company's marketing campaign for the low-tar, reduced nicotine brands mislead them into believing the cigarettes posed less of a health risk than conventional ones.

In the ruling, the Florida court concluded that the case failed to meet the legal requirements of a class-action lawsuit, because the lawsuits could "present individualized plaintiff-related issues."

The company said it is making a similar appeal to a ruling in Illinois, where it's seeking to have the Supreme Court there overturn a $10.1 billion verdict.

Altria shares were up 39 cents, or 0.7%, to $54.42.