Court sides with smokers

Smokers can sue

In a decision that may not sit so well with cigarette companies, the California Supreme Court recently ruled that smokers can sue tobacco companies for smoking-related illnesses even if they experienced other smoking-related illnesses in years previous, according to the Los Angeles Times.

It has been legal for Californians to file lawsuits against tobacco companies since 1998, but the law came into question when Nikki Pooshs, a former smoker, sued Philip Morris USA and other cigarette manufacturers after being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2003. The tobacco companies fought back, saying that Pooshs—who was diagnosed with two other smoking-related diseases in the late 1980s and ’90s—wasn’t following the law, which requires that smokers file a lawsuit within two years of discovering a smoking-related illness.

Justice Joyce Kennard ruled that an early tobacco-related illness does not start the two-year clock for filing a lawsuit if the early illness is separate from a later condition.