On December 16, 2008, by a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against
Altria Group Inc.'s Philip Morris USA unit reversing the trial court's dismissal
of a consumer-fraud class action filed by smokers of "low tar" and light
cigarettes. In holding that the Labeling Act did not preempt plaintiffs'
statutory fraud claim, Justice Stevens, writing for the majority, held that the
Labeling Act's regulation of statements "based on" smoking and health did not
preempt a lawsuit relying on "the more general duty not to make fraudulent
McGuireWoods hosted a teleconference on December 19, 2008, in which our
lawyers Duncan Getchell and Andrew Trask provided a brief review of this decision, followed by a roundtable
discussion of its implications for consumer class action litigation.