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Friday, December 1, 2000
Home Edition
Section: Business
Page: C-2


N.Y. Court Rejects Smokers' Class-Action Status

By: Reuters

A New York appeals court unanimously rejected the class-action certification of a group of smokers seeking damages from major cigarette makers for illnesses allegedly caused by smoking, Philip Morris Cos. said. The plaintiffs brought the suit against Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc. and Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., a unit of British American Tobacco. The court rejected the bid for a class-action suit because it decided the cases had to be considered individually, said Philip Morris, the world's top cigarette maker. The court also said the plaintiffs' claims based on allegedly defective cigarette designs could not be resolved in a class-action trial because "cigarettes are not a generic product" and the jury would have to consider evidence regarding each type and brand of cigarette smoked by each member of the proposed class, Philip Morris said. On the NYSE, shares of Philip Morris were down 25 cents at $38.19 and shares of R.J. Reynolds were up $1.88 at $39.38. Shares of British American Tobacco were off 6 cents to $14.56 in American Stock Exchange trading.

Type of Material: News Brief; Wire Service Story
Descriptors: Court Rulings, Class Action Suits, Smoking, Tobacco Industry - Suits, Philip Morris Companies Inc, R J Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp, British American Tobacco Co


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