PMI, FSFW & PM USA Face Legal Challenges from All Angles

A judge's hammer and gavel.

Philip Morris International (PMI), the world’s largest transnational tobacco company, its Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW) and Philip Morris USA (which separated from PMI in 2008) currently find themselves embroiled in several ongoing lawsuits and legal proceedings. Read the overviews, then click through to learn more.

From a former smoker:

In the latest development in a long-running case, an award for damages made against Philip Morris USA was deemed constitutional. A prior ruling determined that the company must pay a former smoker’s estate USD $20.7 million in punitive damages, plus a USD $6.25 million compensatory award. Philip Morris USA had tried to delay paying the estate by contesting the ruling, calling it “unconstitutionally excessive.” While the victim’s estate awaits the payment it is owed, the appeals court handling the case clarified any further delays from Philip Morris USA would be “unacceptable.”

From a former employee:

In January 2021, FSFW’s former Director of Digital and Social Media, Lourdes Liz, filed a lawsuit alleging unlawful retaliation and termination after raising concerns about how FSFW coordinated its activities with its funder, PMI, as well as former parent company Altria. Ms. Liz alleges that FSFW reinforced tobacco companies’ marketing themes, downplayed the health risks of e-cigarettes and promoted them through programs aimed at teens. FSFW was due to respond by March 12, but has since challenged the grounds of the lawsuit and is asking for the case to be dismissed.

From a former business partner:

In November 2020, market survey agency MSIntelligence (MSI) filed a lawsuit against PMI for the “spoilation by PMI of the intellectual property of MSI as well as the development of unfair competition.” The agency states that its study methodology (the intellectual property in question) was developed in 2002 to help PMI assess the illicit tobacco market. In legal proceedings launched against PMI in the New York Supreme Court, MSI claims it was dispossessed of this intellectual property by PMI.

From a competing tobacco company:

Subsidiaries of British American Tobacco (BAT) are engaged in on-going legal battles against PMI in the United States and Romania, claiming the company infringed on patents BAT developed for its vaping products. In the U.S., the case could result in imports of the heated tobacco sticks used in PMI’s IQOS being blocked.

Further reading:

See how the tobacco industry uses litigation or threats of litigation to prevent tobacco control measures, and learn more about PMI’s ties to FSFW, its historical attempts to market “safer” products and its true motives behind launching its new products.