Lawyer Challenges Tobacco Deal, Targets Ban On Class Action Suits - Chicago Tribune - July 8, 1997

By: Eric Ferkenhoff, Tribune Staff Writer
Chicago Tribune
July 8, 1997

Believing individual rights will be compromised under the pending $368 billion settlement between the government and the tobacco industry, a Chicago lawyer filed a legal challenge Monday to a chief component of the landmark deal.

Attorney Kenneth Moll filed a 142-page, 24-count product liability suit in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of all Illinois residents, accusing the "tobacco cartel" of negligence and fraud in promoting an addictive and deadly substance for public consumption.

The suit names 17 plaintiffs who have suffered - either through illness or the loss of loved ones - and 32 defendants, including cigarette manufacturers and promoters that Moll says are responsible for that suffering.

Among other things, the class action suit asks that the defendants be ordered to pay for or reimburse the cost of smoking related treatment of class members and assist them in efforts to quit smoking.

But Moll said the chief target of the suit is the portion of the settlement, reached last month between the tobacco industry and 40 state attorneys general, that would ban future class action suits and punitive damages against the industry and cap compensatory damages.

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