Castano v. The American Tobacco Company
A group of nicotine-dependent cigarette smokers sued several tobacco companies and an industry trade group seeking various remedies under several legal theories spanning several states. The group alleged that the companies' fraudulently manipulated the nicotine content in their products to encourage addiction and failed to disclose the addictive nature of nicotine to consumers. Upon defendants' motion requesting class decertification, the Court of Appeals held that the trial court had abused its discretion when it certified the conditional class. The Court found, among other things, that the trial court failed to properly examine whether differences among state laws and whether the method of trying claims alleging fraud and addiction-as-injury precluded the possibility of common issues predominating the class. After determining that the class action mechanism employed here was not demonstrably superior to individual lawsuits, the Court ordered the trial court to dismiss the class complaint.