Judge denies class action in smoking case

Jul 6, 2001 8:30 PM

A federal judge has denied class-action status to Nevada casino dealers and other who wanted tobacco companies to pay for medical exams to detect smoking-related illnesses.

U.S. District Judge Phillip M. Pro ruled in Las Vegas that differences in the four Nevada cases were too great to lump them together for trial. One involved smokers, while the other three were filed on behalf of non-smoking casino workers.

Executives at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co and Philip Morris Co., two of the four defendants, said the decision was sensible.

Robert Gerard, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said the ruling could kill cases in Nevada aimed at proving that tobacco companies lied about the adverse health effects of breathing second-hand smoke.