Thursday, February 8, 2007
A Louisiana state appellate court affirmed class certification and liability but substantially reduced the damages in a class action for smoking-cessation programs, according to this AP story in the NY Times:
A Louisiana appeals court cut a $591 million verdict against tobacco companies by more than half and limited the kinds of smoking-cessation programs the money can be used for. Even so, a plaintiffs' attorney called Wednesday's ruling a victory that reaffirmed the original verdict, while a tobacco company said it would appeal to have the entire verdict thrown out. ... The Louisiana ruling by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal in New Orleans was the first major development since jurors found in 2004 that tobacco firms had conspired for more than 50 years to distort public knowledge about the effects of smoking. ...
The ruling cut the amount of money for stop-smoking programs to $279 million. It also limited the kinds of programs it can pay for to traditional stop-smoking aids and limited the class to people who smoked before Louisiana's products liability law was passed in 1988. The class originally was defined as anyone who started smoking before the lawsuit was filed in 1996.