The Associated Press reports that the Supreme Court refused to disturb an Illinois Supreme Court ruling that sided with Philip Morris USA regarding light cigarettes. In a fraud class-action lawsuit the Court ruled that it was okay for Philip Morris to characterize cigarettes as light even though they were more toxic than regular cigarettes. The smokers that filed the claim said the term light inferred that the cigarettes were better than regular cigarettes and Morris should be held liable for any health-related issues because they didn't tell them that the light cigarettes weren't any healthier.
This move, to some, paints Philip Morris USA as the bad company. Why wouldn't they agree to pay the suit? Others say that the smokers knew the risks of cigarettes, light or not.
If you were PR counsel for Morris, how would you respond to this? Would you advise the company to let it die? Would you tell them to issue a statement? If so, what would it say? Would you work with them to send information to their shareholders? Would you advise that they now need to start putting a label on their light cigarettes? Or would you do all of the above (or something not listed)?
Let me know what you think.