US firms line up for tobacco class action

A host of US firms are preparing for battle after a New York judge ruled that a groundbreaking $200bn (£105bn) class action against tobacco firms could go ahead.

The case was first filed by Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll in May 2004, against Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds, British American Tobacco (BAT), Liggett Group, Brown & Williamson (B&W) and Lorillard Tobacco. It alleges that cigarette companies conspired to deceive the US public about the comparative dangers of ‘light’ or ‘low-tar’ cigarettes.

Arnold & Porter and Kirkland & Ellis are acting for Phillip Morris, with Kirkland also instructed by B&W. Jones Day and Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice are acting for RJ Reynolds. Chadbourne & Parke and Greenberg Traurig are acting for BAT and Lorillard respectively. Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman is representing Liggett Group.