Plaintiffs brought this class action lawsuit against Philip Morris USA in 1998, claiming that Philip Morris violated the Massachusetts consumer protection law by falsely representing that Marlboro Lights were less harmful and delivered lower tar and nicotine than Regular Marlboros, when that was not the case.
The Court has allowed this case to proceed as a class action lawsuit on behalf of all persons, who during any portion of the time period from November 25, 1994 to November 25, 1998, were residents of Massachusetts who purchased Marlboro Lights cigarettes in Massachusetts, or residents of Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island or Vermont who regularly purchased Marlboro Lights cigarettes in Massachusetts.
Following a five week trial, the Court found that Philip Morris violated the Massachusetts consumer protection law, and awarded the Class statutory damages and interest.
In April, 2016, the parties reached a settlement of this case under which Philip Morris will pay both the full amount of statutory damages and interest awarded by the Court, and the attorneys’ fees and expenses of attorneys representing the Class. The Court approved the Settlement following a hearing that took place on September 29, 2016.
The Settlement Administrator examined every claim filed to determine eligibility, using public records and the information provided on the claim form. Some claims were not eligible to receive a share of the recovery under the terms of the settlement. On February 21, 2017, the Court approved Plaintiff’s Motion to Authorize the Distribution of Settlement Funds and Reject Disallowed Claims and on March 13th, 2017, Settlement checks were mailed to eligible Class Members.