Retailer Sued in Tobacco Case

Discussion
Feb 10, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Martin & Bayley Inc., the parent company of the 150-store Huck’s Food and Fuel convenience chain, is being sued along with Philip Morris for deceptively scheming to get consumers to buy light cigarettes.

The law firm of Korein Tillery of Belleville, Ill. filed seven lawsuits in the Madison County Circuit Court with charges included violations of the state’s Consumer Fraud Act and wrongful death.

According to the seven suit, Huck’s “engaged in misrepresentations, unlawful schemes and conduct that induced the plaintiffs’ to purchase cigarettes through unfair and deceptive acts.”

The intent of Huck’s and Philip Morris, according to the filing, was to suggest light cigarettes were somehow safer than the regular variety. This is not supported, it claims, by the scientific evidence.

Moderator’s Comment: Should a retailer be held legally responsible for selling a product it knows may cause serious physical harm to the person who uses
it?

It doesn’t come as any surprise that our answer to this question is a flat out no. We will admit, however, that it does raise some interesting philosophical
questions.

For example, the courts have held that a bar or even hosts of a party can be held responsible for the harm caused by a drunk driver to whom they served
alcohol.

In the case of the bar, the product being sold is legal. What then is the distinction when knowingly harmful but fully legal goods are sold through a retail
store — the time between the use of the product and the damage its use causes to the consumer and/or others?

George Anderson – Moderator

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1 Comment on "Retailer Sued in Tobacco Case"


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Ed Dennis
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Ed Dennis
16 years 20 days ago

I agree with all that the retailer is at no fault and I don’t think any jury will find in that direction. The tragedy is that a lawyer is allowed to file this suit and include the retailer. This casting of a wide net is done for two reasons: 1. Force a settlement from the innocent to avoid extensive litigation cost. 2. Make the guilty look more guilty by having the innocent announce that they have settled, thus weakening their position in the mind of the public (jury). Believe me when I say that Tobacco companies and predatory lawyers deserve each other. This is TRULY justice!

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