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Court: Light Cigarette Case Can Be Class-Action

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Court of Appeals says a lawsuit against the makers of Marlboro Lights cigarettes can proceed as a class-action claim.

A three-judge panel issued its opinion Tuesday. In the 2001 lawsuit, smokers claim Philip Morris engaged in deceptive trade practices, false advertising and consumer fraud by marketing cigarettes as “light.”

The class would include consumers who bought Marlboro Lights in Minnesota from 1972 through November 2004. The plaintiffs seek refunds for their purchases. The number of people in the class and amount of damages is not immediately known.

In a statement, Philip Morris says it is considering its appellate options.

Courts around the country have been split on whether similar cases can proceed as class-action claims.

In 2009, Congress banned the marketing of tobacco products with words like “light.”

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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