Cleary v. Philip Morris USA

A class of Illinois residents sued several tobacco companies, alleging in the original complaint that Philip Morris deceptively marketed Marlboro Lights and alleging in a third amended complaint that all of the defendant-companies deceptively and falsely marketed "light," "ultra light," and "low tar" cigarettes as presenting fewer health risks than other cigarettes.  In the time period between the original and third amended complaints, plaintiffs moved for dismissal of the allegations pertaining to Marlboro Lights maintaining that the matter was addressed by a separate class action before another court.  Although the separate class action subsequently was dismissed as preempted by federal law, the U.S. Supreme Court later invalidated the grounds for dismissal. Upon motion by the defendants to dismiss the lights allegations in the third amended complaint, the Court held that the claims pertaining to lights cigarettes other than Marlboro Lights did not relate back to the original filing and were therefore time-barred.  The Court ordered Philip Morris to show cause at a later date as to why the lights claims pertaining to Marlboro Lights should not be reinstated.


Cleary, et al. v. Philip Morris, Inc., et al., Case No. 09 C 1596 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 8, 2009).

  • United States
  • Sep 8, 2009
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division



  • Brian Cleary
  • Others similarly situated
  • Rita Burke


  • Others
  • Philip Morris, Inc.

Legislation Cited

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues

Type of Tobacco Product