Blue Cross and Blue Shield Coalition Wins Another Round Against Big Tobacco
In another defeat for tobacco, U.S. District Court judges in Brooklyn and Chicago ruled in separate cases that Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans have the right to proceed with their cases against the major U.S. tobacco manufacturers.
``We believe that tobacco companies should be held accountable for the damage they have inflicted on the health of this nation -- damage that will continue for a generation,'' said Vincent FitzPatrick of Dewey Ballantine, one of the coalition's chief litigators. ``We are gratified that the judges have ruled that these matters should be determined appropriately and fairly in court.''
U.S. District Court Judge Jack Weinstein in Brooklyn reaffirmed his earlier decision refusing to dismiss the Blue Cross and Blue Shield complaint.
In Chicago, Judge Elaine Bucklo rejected a similar motion from the same tobacco companies in a case brought by a different group of Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in the coalition. Judge Bucklo certified her decision for review prior to trial by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The plaintiffs expect the appellate court to uphold her decision.