Wisconsin Federal Court Denies Class Certification In “Lights” Case

Philip Morris USA (PM USA) said today that a federal court judge in Wisconsin denied class certification in a “Lights” cigarette case.

“The court correctly recognized that these cases are not suited for class certification,” said Murray Garnick, Altria Client Services senior vice president and associate general counsel, speaking on behalf of PM USA. “Federal courts have repeatedly refused to certify these cases because they raise a host of individual issues that must be litigated individually.”

In denying class certification, the district court found that “the need to make individualized inquiries into each class member’s knowledge at the time of each purchase to identify those class members who were actually injured by Philip Morris’ conduct prevents this case from being certified as a class action.” The court further found that “this problem permeates each of plaintiff’s causes of action.”

The proposed class included all Wisconsin residents who purchased “Lights” and other “lower tar” cigarettes manufactured by PM USA since June 16, 2003. Plaintiffs are seeking to recover a portion of the money they spent purchasing the cigarettes.

This case is Wyatt v. Philip Morris USA Inc. and Altria Group, Inc., case number 09-cv-00597.

Copyright Business Wire 2010

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