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Calif. high court revives lawsuit against tobacco industry

By The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court has revived a class-action lawsuit against the tobacco industry alleging its advertisements misled consumers into believing some cigarettes were less harmful than others.

The 4-3 decision In re Tobacco II cases, reverses two lower court rulings that barred the consumer lawsuit because of the 2004 passage of Proposition 64. The voter-approved initiative says only consumers claiming they lost money or property can file such class actions.

In its May 18 ruling, the high court said the proposition was intended to bar frivolous lawsuits, not to stop those seeking legitimate consumer protections. It ordered a trial court judge to reconsider the case.

The majority opinion was written by Justice Carlos Moreno, among the candidates to replace retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter.


Tobacco co. claims selling cigarettes is free-speech right

Philip Morris is challenging San Francisco's ban on sale of tobacco products at stand-alone pharmacies. 09.27.08

Justices allow lawsuits over 'light' cigarettes

In 5-4 split, high court rules smokers may use state consumer-protection laws to sue cigarette tobacco industry for way it promotes 'light' and 'low tar' brands. 12.15.08

Tobacco ads

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