Class Action Suit Against Tobacco Companies

Tobacco Companies Vow Appeal

New York (AP) -- RJ Reynolds says it and several other cigarette makers will appeal Monday's decision by a New York federal judge.

He's allowing a suit over so-called "light cigarettes" to be expanded to a class action. That could wind up covering tens of (m) Millions of smokers going back some three decades.

And it has the potential to be a 200-(b)-billion-dollar case. The lawyer for the smokers says it'll be one of the largest class-action cases ever, in terms of both the number of plaintiffs and the amount of damages.

But the RJ Reynolds lawyer says they don't believe the law supports extending class action status to the suit, which was initially filed in 2004.

Along with smokers of "light" cigarettes, the judge says he will consider whether to extend the suit to include smokers of all "low tar" brands.

(Copyright 2006 by the associated press. All rights reserved.)