How do I File a Tobacco Lawsuit?

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  • Written By: Jeremy Laukkonen
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 13 February 2020
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A variety of factors can impact whether or not you can file a tobacco lawsuit, so it is typically advised to retain expert legal counsel. One of the biggest determining factors of whether you can file such a lawsuit is where you live. In the United States, citizens of some states may successfully file tobacco lawsuits, while those in others may have a different experience. If your state supreme court has indicated that individuals within your state can file lawsuits regarding tobacco-related damages, then you can contact a lawyer to file for you. You may also file your own tobacco lawsuit by contacting your local court clerk to obtain the proper forms and doing all of the work yourself.

In the United States, there has been a long history of tobacco litigation that goes back to the 1950s. The early history of this litigation consisted largely of individual cases that were unsuccessful at even arguing that cigarettes were addictive. Some class action suits were then brought, some of which made inroads only to be thrown out due to judges ruling that the individual cases were too different to form a class. Later on many states brought their own Medicaid-related suits, many of which were settled for large dollar amounts. Before filing a tobacco lawsuit, you need to verify that your right to sue has not been impacted by a previous class action verdict or settlement.


Many areas allow individuals to sue tobacco companies, so if you live in such a place you can typically bring suit. The two options are to hire a lawyer or law firm, or to file all of the documents on your own. Since tobacco companies typically have extensive legal defense teams, it can be a good idea to locate and hire your own lawyer that has some tobacco lawsuit experience. Consulting with a lawyer or other legal expert can also provide you with needed information, such as whether the state supreme court is even likely to accept such a case.

If you decide to file your own tobacco lawsuit without any expert counsel, you will need to do a large amount of research. You will also need to go to your local courthouse and speak to the court clerk. He or she will typically be able to provide you with the proper legal forms to fill out. The clerk may also inform you of any deadlines or dates you will need to be aware of. In the United States, you are often required to write the Latin phrase in pro per at the bottom of your legal forms, which indicates you will be representing yourself.



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