Rose v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.

In a products liability action brought by a smoker against cigarette manufacturers, the jury held for the plaintiffs, finding that regular cigarettes were negligently designed when evaluated against the manufacturers' alternative lower-tar, lower-nicotine, and thus safer "light" product design.  On appeal, the Court found that the plaintiffs had failed to present evidence to the jury that "light" cigarettes would have been accepted by smokers as an alternative to regular cigarettes, thereby failing to demonstrate that "light" cigarettes possessed the same utility as regular cigarettes.  The Court therefore reversed the jury verdict and dismissed the case, holding that the plaintiffs had not established a prima facie claim for design defect.  The dissent disagreed with the Court's finding that consumer acceptability was required to present a prima facie case. The dissent noted that consumer satisfaction in this instance meant the satisfaction of nicotine addictions purposely fostered by the manufacturers' manipulation of the nicotine content in regular cigarettes.


Rose, et al. v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., et al., 53 A.D.3d 80, 855 N.Y.S.2d 119, State of New York, Appellate Division, First Department (2008).

  • United States
  • Apr 10, 2008
  • State of New York, Appellate Division, First Department



  • Norma Rose
  • Others

Defendant Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation, as Successor in Interest to American Tobacco, et al.

Legislation Cited

Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act (as amended), 15 USC ยงยง 1331 - 1341

Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965, Section 1331, et seq.

Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1969

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Type of Litigation

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Substantive Issues

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