RICHMOND, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A 10-person jury in Boston today unanimously rejected the claims made by a class of Massachusetts smokers who want Philip Morris USA (PM USA) to pay for a court-ordered medical monitoring program. The plaintiffs failed to persuade the jury that Marlboro cigarettes were defective.
“Today’s unanimous verdict again demonstrates that these types of medical monitoring claims are meritless. The jury soundly rejected that Marlboro cigarettes are defectively designed,” said Murray Garnick, Altria Client Services senior vice president and associate general counsel, speaking on behalf of PM USA. “This was the third case of its kind to go to trial, and in each the jury ruled in favor of Philip Morris USA.”
Two other similar trials took place in Louisiana and West Virginia in the early 2000s. Many states, however, do not allow medical monitoring claims.
This is one of the few cigarette class action cases to go to trial. The overwhelming majority of federal and state courts have rejected class certification of smokers’ claims, including those seeking medical monitoring, because the claims raise issues unique to each individual smoker.
Further proceedings are expected in the district court following the jury’s verdict. The judge presiding over the case has determined that she will decide whether there was a violation of Massachusetts’ consumer protection act.
Originally filed in 2006, the plaintiffs in the Donovan case are seeking a 28-year medical monitoring program with an approximate cost of $190 million. The class includes all Massachusetts smokers who, as of February 2013, were at least 50, had at least a 20 pack-year history of smoking Marlboro cigarettes and have neither been diagnosed with lung cancer nor are under investigation by a physician for suspected lung cancer.
This case is Donovan v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., case number 1:06-cv-12234