of lawsuit upheld in split decision by Appeals Court on May
Rights Lawsuit Against Tobacco Companies Filed in Philadelphia
Federal District Court
national civil rights class action lawsuit on behalf of African
American smokers of mentholated cigarette brands was filed
in Federal District Court in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on
October 19, 1998.
September 23, 1999, U.S. District Judge John R. Padova dismissed
the lawsuit, stating that the civil rights laws did not cover
the target marketing of tobacco products. The attorneys for
the plaintiffs have appealed the judge's ruling and briefs
are due to the U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd District by June
Lawsuit Time Line
December 7, 1998
This was the first court date for Brown
et. al. vs. Philip Morris et. al. was Monday, December
7, 1998, in Philadelphia. The tobacco industry had approximately
30 lawyers thereincluding lawyers flown in from England.
The plaintiffs had its four attorneys present: William R.
Adams, Jr. and Carol A. Black of Black & Adams; veteran
tobacco litigator Stephen Sheller of Sheller Badey & Ludwig;
and Robert Kaczorowski, a Fordham University law professor
and expert on civil rights law. The tobacco industry lawyers
tried to get the case dismissed immediatelyand failed.
Oral arguments were heard.
Judge John A. Padova initially dismissed the case.
Plaintiffs filed an appeal.
Legal briefs are submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for
the Third Circuit.
Additional legal briefs are submitted to the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Third Circuit.
In a split decision (2:1), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Third Circuit upholds the dismissal of the lawsuit by the
lower federal court.
excellent description of the lawsuit and the factors that
led to its filing can be found in the Philadelphia Magazine
article entitled Holy Smokes!
that ran in the magazine's February 1999 issue.
available on this web site is a Menthol
Lawsuit Documents page with the NAAAPI News Release
issued October 21, 1998 announcing the lawsuit and a SCARNet
Action Alert on the lawsuit issued October 30, 1998 by the
Last updated 05/19/01