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Product liability litigation regularly involves the highest stakes in cases of extreme complexity. Faced with such franchise-threatening matters, the world’s leading corporations trust Paul, Weiss to lead them to victory. Our superior ability to establish a winning, long-term strategy, our unique skill at breaking down and presenting complicated material, and our vaunted trial prowess make us counsel of choice in many of the most important product liability lawsuits.
Philip Morris USA Secures Mistrial in Lights Class Action
- Client News
- October 26, 2011
As reported by Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The American Lawyer, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Paul, Weiss achieved an important victory for Philip Morris USA, when, after nearly five days of deliberations, the jury yesterday hung in the first "Lights" case to reach a jury.
Plaintiffs sought nearly a billion dollars in compensatory damages and punitive damages under Missouri's Merchandising Practices Act, alleging that Missouri smokers who bought Marlboro Lights between 1995 through 2003 were economically injured because the cigarettes purportedly had no health benefit relative to full-flavor cigarettes. The class expressly excluded claims for personal injury. In 2001, the National Cancer Institute released a report stating that light cigarettes offered no material health benefit over full-flavored cigarettes, and in 2010, federal law required the removal of the word "lights" from all cigarette packs in the U.S. Philip Morris USA is the largest U.S. tobacco company, and Marlboro Lights (now known as Marlboro Gold) is its best-selling product.
After a week-long jury selection process and five weeks of testimony, the jury deliberated for nearly a week before announcing that they were deadlocked - plaintiffs were unable to meet their burden to convince 9 of 12 jurors that Philip Morris USA violated the consumer protection law. Analysts and commentators have praised the result for Philip Morris USA.
The Paul, Weiss team included, among others, litigation partner Craig Benson.