BOSTON (AP) – The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday vacated a federal court ruling throwing out a lawsuit by three Mainers alleging deceptive and unfair advertising by the makers of “light” cigarettes.

Lori Spellman, Stephanie Good and Allain Thibodeau filed a lawsuit in 2005 against Altria Group Inc. and Philip Morris USA Inc., claiming their marketing practices violated Maine’s Unfair Trade Practices Law.

U.S. District Judge John Woodcock issued a summary judgment in the cigarette makers’ favor, ruling that the claims were pre-empted by the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, which says states can’t impose any requirements on the advertising or promotion of cigarettes.

In a 68-page ruling, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the claims are not pre-empted by federal law, thereby sending the case back to federal court in Maine for further proceedings.

The complaint was the first of its kind to be pursued in federal court in Maine, but one of hundreds filed in state and federal courts around the country.


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