Louisiana Court of Appeals Orders Tobacco Companies to Pay Over $230 Million for Court-Approved Smoking Cessation Program

Contact: Edward L. Sweda or Mark Gottlieb

(617) 373-8462 or (617) 373-2026

Nearly fourteen years after the lawsuit was originally filed, the Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit on Friday affirmed a trial court judgment in Scott v. American Tobacco Co., et al., that the major American tobacco companies must fund a smoking cessation program to benefit more than 200,000 Louisiana smokers.

Attorney Steve J. Herman, who represents the plaintiffs, said: “after a three-year trial and a six-year appeals process going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, we are happy with the court’s unanimous decision, and optimistic that the court-supervised programs awarded by the jury in 2004 can now be funded, so that smokers can get assistance in quitting from qualified Louisiana health care providers.”  Attorney Herman can be reached at 504-680-0554.

Edward L. Sweda, Jr., Senior Attorney for the Tobacco Products Liability Project (TPLP), a project of the Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) based at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, welcomed the unanimous decision, which he described as “a clear victory for the health of thousands of Louisiana smokers who will benefit from the four components of the smoking cessation program approved by the Louisiana Court of Appeal in 2007.”  Those four components are: 1) reimbursement of smoking-cessation related medication; 2) telephone quit lines; 3) health intervention systems; and 4) intensive cessation programs.

“This case is a trailblazer,” added Richard A. Daynard, founder of TPLP and a Northeastern University Law Professor.   “Attorneys in the other 49 states should file similar claims so that their citizens can also get the benefits of this program,” he concluded