Sullivan v. Philip Morris USA; Brown v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., 479 F.3d 383 (5th Cir. 2007).
The case was a putative class action on behalf of individuals who had purchased cigarettes labeled as "lights" in Louisiana. Alleging that the word "lights" was deceptive because the cigarettes did not actually deliver less tar and nicotine than regular cigarettes, the plaintiffs sought to recover the purchase price of all lights that Philip Morris had sold in Louisiana. Our attorneys whittled down the claims in the District Court, and the Fifth Circuit ruled that the remaining ones were preempted by the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act. The Fifth Circuit is the first federal court of appeals to address preemption in a lights case, and its decision provides important support for the defense in the many other lights cases pending throughout the country.