New York’s Top Court Rejects Liability Claim against Tobacco Firms

December 17, 2008

New York’s top court has rejected a product liability claim against tobacco companies for selling regular cigarettes when they could have used lower levels of tar and nicotine.

The Court of Appeals ruled that lawyers representing the late Norma Rose, who died after smoking regular cigarettes for more than 40 years, failed to prove that “light” cigarettes have the same effects as regulars.

The judges, upholding a midlevel court, say the only “utility” of a cigarette is to gratify a smoker’s desire for a certain experience, and it was unproven that light cigarettes do that as well as regular cigarettes.

The suit named Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., Philip Morris USA and other companies.

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