Monday, October 6, 2008
After turning away those cases and dozens of others that accumulated during the summer, the court heard arguments in a tobacco case and suggested it would side with tobacco companies in their fight to block lawsuits over deceptive marketing of "light" cigarettes.
Several justices were skeptical that state laws against fraudulent advertising could be used to sue the makers of "light" and "low-tar" cigarettes when a federal law on cigarette labeling rules out lawsuits that involve smoking and health.
"How do you tell it's deceptive or not unless you look at smoking and health?," asked Chief Justice John Roberts.
Three Maine residents sued Altria Group Inc. and its Philip Morris USA Inc. subsidiary under the state's law against unfair marketing practices. The class-action claim represents all smokers of Marlboro Light or Cambridge Light cigarettes, both made by Philip Morris.