Top Court Weighs Bid To Sue Tobacco Company
The state Supreme Court was asked Monday to decide whether a Connecticut family that lost a relative to lung cancer can sue tobacco companies using both product liability laws and Connecticut's Unfair Trade Practices Act.
Judith S. Gerrity started smoking in her teens and continued for decades. After she died of lung cancer in 1996, her family sued the makers of the cigarettes she smoked, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Lorillard Tobacco Co.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, claims that the companies both manufactured defective products and engaged in deceptive advertising and marketing.
Gay Tedder, an attorney for the companies, said product liability laws preclude someone who has charged that a product is defective from also taking action under the Unfair Trade Practices Act.
David S. Golub, a Stamford attorney representing the Gerrity estate, argued that the unfair trade law would allow a range of remedies, including restitution for groups and injunctions, that the liability laws do not.
Golub said the family would like to see an injunction against the tobacco companies. Such an order would stop them from doing any advertising and marketing determined by the court to be deceptive.