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Press release from Business Wire

Plaintiffs in Missouri “Lights” Case Fail to Convince Jury of Their Claims

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Plaintiffs in Missouri “Lights” Case Fail to Convince Jury of Their Claims12:41 EDT Tuesday, October 25, 2011 RICHMOND, Va. (Business Wire) -- A St. Louis jury today failed to return a verdict in a Missouri “Lights” class action case against Philip Morris USA (PM USA). As a result, the judge declared a mistrial. “After eleven years of pre-trial proceedings and a month and a half of testimony, today's mistrial shows that the plaintiffs failed to convince a jury of their claims,” said Murray Garnick, Altria Client Services senior vice president and associate general counsel, speaking on behalf of PM USA. “We continue to believe that these claims are baseless and today's mistrial shows that we have powerful defenses in these ‘Lights' cases.” In this lawsuit, originally filed in February 2000, plaintiffs alleged that Philip Morris USA violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act by using the terms ‘Lights' and “Lowered Tar and Nicotine” on packages of Marlboro Lights. Plaintiffs sought to recover a portion of the money paid by Missouri residents who purchased Marlboro Lights cigarettes from 1995 – 2003. “We believe that this class should never have been certified,” Garnick added. “All federal courts and seven state courts have refused to certify these types of cases as class actions recognizing that there are too many individual issues to make these a workable class action.” Earlier this year, 13 “Lights” claims which were consolidated in a multi district litigation in Maine were dismissed after a federal judge denied class certification saying that “common issued do not predominate.” The Federal Trade Commission had previously permitted descriptors such as “Lights” and “Lowered Tar and Nicotine” that were based on results from the FTC's Test Method. However, as of June 2010, under U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulation, manufacturers can no longer use such descriptors on packaging, advertising and labels. Today's mistrial came in Larsen v. Philip Morris USA, case number 002-00406-02. ALCS Media Relations804-484-8897