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CALIFORNIA | BRIEFLY: TOBACCO

Court Rejects Appeal of Pennsylvania Case

May 18, 1999| Bloomberg News

Tobacco companies won't have to face a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of more than a million Pennsylvania cigarette smokers, as the Supreme Court rejected an appeal that sought to revive the case. The justices, without comment, let stand a lower court ruling that the smokers' claims were too varied to be rolled into a single case against Philip Morris Cos. and other companies. The U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals also had rejected demands by six individuals that tobacco companies pay for medical testing. The lawsuit was significant because it was one of few smoking health claims to have won class-action status, although only temporarily. A federal district judge at one point granted the plaintiffs class certification before reversing that decision. Unlike other class-action bids, the Pennsylvania case didn't involve people who either had died or were terminally ill with lung cancer. The plaintiffs, all current smokers, included a woman in her 20s who showed virtually no signs of smoking-related illnesses.

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