January 13, 2011 - The United States District Court Eastern District of New York today, January 13th dismissed a lawsuit by a group of New York plaintiffs seeking class certification in a medical monitoring lawsuit filed against Philip Morris USA.
The Court ruled that there was no legal basis for claims made by plaintiffs in Caronia v. Philip Morris USA (case number 06-cv-00224) requesting that the company pay for annual low-dose CT scans for long-term smokers to determine whether they have lung cancer. The court dismissed the lawsuit finding that plaintiffs' medical monitoring and implied warranty claims were legally invalid.
Background: A group of long-term Marlboro smokers filed an unusual lawsuit yesterday, January 19, 2006 against Philip Morris USA, seeking to require the company to pay for medical tests to detect early-stage lung cancer. While most tobacco-related lawsuits have sought billions of dollars in punitive damages, this suit, filed in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, asks that Philip Morris USA, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes and a unit of Altria, be required to pay for low-dose CT scan tests, a new method for identifying potentially cancerous lesions in the lungs. (Marlboro Smokers' Group Names Philip Morris in Suit by MELANIE WARNER, New York Times, 1/20/2006)"This decision recognizes that the plaintiffs were unable to establish that the defendant's tortious (wrongful) conduct 'is what caused them to be exposed to harmful smoke sufficient to require medical monitoring. . .'," said Murray Garnick, Altria Client Services senior vice president and associate general counsel, speaking on behalf of Philip Morris USA. "We believe the Court's sound reasoning applies to other medical monitoring cases brought against Philip Morris USA." Two Key Cases Challenge Philip Morris on Early-Stage Lung Cancer Detection, Sheri Qualters, The National Law Journal, 1/8/2009.
Advanced CT imaging can reduce deaths from lung cancer by 20% among heavy smokers by detecting tumors at an earlier stage when they are more treatable, according to results released Thursday from the first study to compare the value of CT scans and regular chest X-rays for lung cancer screening. (CT scans of smokers can reduce lung cancer deaths by 20%, study reports, smokersinfo.net, 11/5/2010.
Reference: Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Seeking Medical Monitoring Class Action in Cigarette Case, SOURCE: Philip Morris USA, CNBC, 1/13/2011.