A federal judge on Monday certified a $200 billion class action lawsuit against the tobacco industry for its marketing of light cigarettes, saying that no matter how vast and complex the claims, the U.S. Constitution demanded that a jury hear the plaintiffs’ case.
Eastern District of New York Judge Jack B. Weinstein’s 540-page opinion in Schwab v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., 04-CIV-1945 — which included an additional 965 pages of appendices for a total of 1,505 pages — gave tens of millions of smokers an avenue to recover damages from the nations largest tobacco companies, including Philip Morris USA Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Lorillard Tobacco Co., and Liggett Group, Inc.
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