CALIFORNIA: SENATE PASSES BILL TO ENABLE TOBACCO SUIT
"As the tobacco industry negotiates with states for possibleThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
settlement of lawsuits to recover the medical costs of smoking,
the state Senate yesterday passed a bill aimed at allowing" state
Attorney General Dan Lungren (R) to sue the industry on behalf of
California, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE reports. Lungren has refused
to file suit against the industry, claiming a 1987 state law
grants the tobacco industry "an exemption from the state's
product liability law" (see AHL 4/4) (Gunnison, 4/18). The
Senate measure would "specifically repeal the tobacco industry's
immunity from individual or government-sponsored lawsuits." A
"more narrowly drafted" bill is being considered in the House
that would "retain the tobacco industry's immunity from citizen
lawsuits." LOS ANGELES TIMES reports that "a compromise between
the two measures is likely." A spokesperson for Gov. Pete Wilson
(R) said the governor supports the idea of the state suing the
industry, however, the governor did not say which measure he
would support (Ingram, 4/18).
TIMETABLE: Rob Stutzman, a spokesperson for Lungren, said
that the "attorney general is confident he is under no strict
time limit to carry" out a lawsuit. He said, "Until Congress
gets involved and provides a general settlement, there would not
be a clock on all of this" (CHRONICLE, 4/18).