Caronia, et al. v. Philip Morris USA, Inc.
The plaintiffs, smokers over the age of fifty who had smoked a certain number of packs of Marlboro Cigarettes and who were not currently suffering from or actively under investigation for lung cancer, sought the establishment of a medical monitoring program at the expense of Marlboro's manufacturer, Philip Morris USA, Inc. As justification for the medical monitoring program, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendant purposely chose not to manufacture and sell a cigarette with less dangerous levels of "tar," which allegedly put them at risk of developing lung cancer. The defendant argued that the medical monitoring request should be dismissed, among other reasons, because the State of New York had not previously granted such requests where the plaintiffs did not yet exhibit the physical symptoms of an illness, and moreover, because the products it sold did not have a particular defect, as required of successful medical monitoring suits. The Court dismissed the case in favor of the defendant tobacco company. In particular, the Court found that, although a medical monitoring program would have been reasonable to provide to plaintiffs who did not yet exhibit physical symptoms of lung cancer, the plaintiffs did not adequately demonstrate that the conduct of the tobacco company constituted a "substantial factor" in causing them to consume the amount of tar that they did.