Cleary v. Philip Morris

A class of Illinois residents sued several tobacco companies seeking a forced return of profits based on a claim of “unjust enrichment.” The plaintiffs asserted that the tobacco companies intentionally concealed the truth about the addictiveness of cigarettes and about the tar and nicotine levels in Marlboro Lights. In the fourth complaint of this lengthy lawsuit, two different class groups remained: (1) Illinois residents who purchased tobacco products during the time when tobacco companies engaged in deceptive marketing and (2) Illinois residents who bought or smoked Marlboro Lights. The court agreed with an earlier decision to dismiss the plaintiffs' claim for unjust enrichment because the plaintiffs did not show that they had suffered any harm, that they had relied on the tobacco companies’ marketing, or that they would have acted differently if the tobacco companies had been truthful.


Cleary v. Philip Morris, Inc., 656 F.3d 511 (7th Cir. 2011).

  • United States
  • Aug 25, 2011
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit



  • Brian Cleary
  • Ines Taylor
  • Others similarly situated


  • British American Tobacco Company, LTD
  • Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.
  • Council for Tobacco Research-U.S.A, Inc.
  • Liggett & Myers, Inc.
  • Lorillard Tobacco Company
  • Philip Morris, Incorporated
  • R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
  • Tobacco Institute, Inc.
  • United States Tobacco Company

Legislation Cited

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues

Type of Tobacco Product