Big Tobacco Companies Upset at Florida Courts; Argue it is “Too Easy” for Cigarette Victims to Bring Claims Against Them
Three tobacco companies, Philip Morris USA Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Liggett Group LLC, have filed a lawsuit in Florida Supreme Court alleging that the court’s filing procedures violate their due process rights.
In 2006, the Florida Supreme Court decided that tobacco companies knowingly sold dangerous products and hid the hazards of smoking from the public. However, the court required that the approximately 8,000 class members file their cases individually. According to the court, each plaintiff had to show that the plaintiff or his/her deceased family member was addicted to smoking, could not quit, and that their illnesses or deaths were caused by cigarettes.
The tobacco companies are arguing that this procedure makes it too easy for plaintiffs to prove a case. They argue that harmed individuals should be required to prove that the cigarettes they or deceased relatives smoked were defective and to state what the defects were.
Several class actions are still pending against Philip Morris and other tobacco companies, including recent decisions from Massachusetts and Missouri, in which Courts permitted the lawsuits to proceed as class actions.
The consumer lawsuits against tobacco companies allege that tobacco manufacturers misled consumers about the dangers of cigarettes, including those of the low-tar variety, resulting in death and personal injury.
If you or someone you know has suffered injury caused by products due to misleading advertising, contact Khorrami, LLP for a confidential consultation.