Altria Group Inc. v. Good – Implications for Consumer Class Actions

December 19, 2008

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 statements.”

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.