Cleary v. Philip Morris USA

A class of Illinois residents sued several tobacco companies for unjust enrichment, alleging, among other things, that the companies: (1) engaged in a decade-long conspiracy to suppress information about the addictive nature of nicotine; (2) directed cigarette marketing and advertising toward minors; and (3) knowingly and falsely marketed Marlboro Lights as being less harmful than other cigarettes.  The Court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment against named-plaintiff Rita Burke on the conspiracy count and the Marlboro Lights count, finding that Ms. Burke had failed to allege any personal detriment suffered as a result of defendants' actions.  The Court then dismissed the conspiracy claim because the remaining named class representative, Brian Cleary, was not born until after the time the conspiracy was alleged to have existed.  The Court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants on the youth marketing and advertising count on the grounds that the claim was time-barred.  The claim concerning Marlboro Lights remained with Mr. Cleary as the only named plaintiff.


Cleary, et al. v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., et al., Case No. 09 C 1596 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 1, 2010).

  • United States
  • Feb 1, 2010
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division



  • Brian Cleary
  • Others similarly situated
  • Rita Burke


  • Others
  • Philip Morris USA, Inc.

Legislation Cited

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues

Type of Tobacco Product