Tobacco Settlement Inspires More Lawsuits

Earlier, I wrote about how the multi-billion-dollar 1998 tobacco settlement between 46 states and the tobacco companies has inspired more lawsuits, and threatened lawsuits, against the tobacco companies by foreign governments, like Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and British Columbia.

Here’s an update on one of the Nigerian suits, which collectively seek tens of billions of dollars from the tobacco companies — a bigger amount of money than that that country’s entire GNP. (Nigeria’s federal government alone is seeking $44 billion.) Its title says it all: “After Successful U.S. Suits, Nigeria Takes on Big Tobacco.” Nothing encourages a lawsuit more than paying off prior lawsuits.

The rulers of Nigeria’s bloody Kano State, a hotbed of ethnic cleansing, massacres, and religious extremism, are also seeking billions.

In other news, the Supreme Court now has a tobacco-related case on its docket, Philip Morris v. Good (discussed here, here, and here), which involves whether purchasers of “lights” cigarettes can sue based on the claim that calling cigarettes “lights” is misleading about their health effects.