Trial begins in Missouri class action, against Philip Morris, relating to false advertising of Marlboro Lights

A class action lawsuit, alleging that Philip Morris violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA) in its marketing of Marlboro Lights, began this morning in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis.  According to a Missouri Lawyers Weekly article, Plaintiff's attorney Stephen Swedlow of Korein Tiller told the jury that Philip Morris perpetrated a 40-year fraud by claiming that Marlboro Lights contained a lower amount of tar and nicotine.  "You don’t get to sell low-fat yogurt that’s not low-fat. You don’t get to sell low-fat ice cream that’s not low-fat. You don’t get to sell diet products that are not diet,” he said.  The MMPA prohibits the act, use or employment by any person of any deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, unfair practice or the concealment, suppression, or omission of any material fact in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise.  Swedlow suggested that Philip Morris' false representations improperly inflated the value of the cigarettes by $.98 per pack.  The litigation began in 2000, and was removed to federal court, appealed, and refiled several times.  Philip Morris is represented by former U.S. Supreme Court Clerk, Alan C. Kohn, of Kohn, Shands, Elbert, Gianoulakis & Giljum, LLP.  For more information, see Larsen v. Philip Morris, 22002-00406-02.