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March 14, 2010 - A lawsuit over the marketing of light cigarettes could be headed back to the U.S. Supreme Court after a federal judge denied a motion to apply facts found in a previous case to the current one.
U.S. District Judge John Woodcock said in a 16-page decision issued Friday, March 12th that it would not be fair to the litigants to apply the facts found by a judge in a jury-waived criminal trial in a case brought by the U.S. Department of Justice against tobacco companies to the potential class-action civil suit.
The lawsuit contends smokers of Marlboro Lights, Virginia Slims Lights and other light cigarettes were misled into thinking that the cigarettes contained less tar and nicotine than regular cigarettes.
Bangor lawyer Samuel Lanham Jr., who represents the three Maine plaintiffs, said Tuesday, March 9th he and other attorneys were “considering all the options,” including a possible appeal to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.
“Judge Woodcock’s ruling means we have to be put to our proof and we are prepared to do so,” Lanham said. The next step in the litigation is for Woodcock to consider a motion to certify the case a class-action lawsuit.
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Reference: Case of light cigarettes may return to top court by Judy Harrison, Bangor Daily News, 3/14/2010.
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U.S. Supreme Court 2008-2009 term, Altria v Good (07-562)..;
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