Pearson v. Phillip Morris, Inc.
Case #: A137297
Armstrong, J. for the Court; En Banc.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A137297.pdf
Civil Procedure: When individuals and other putative class members suffer ascertainable losses and those losses can be litigated based on evidence common throughout the class, class certification may be appropriate.
Pearson appealed the trial court's denial of class certification and grant of summary judgment. Pearson brought an action against Phillip Morris (Phillip) under the Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act (UTPA). Pearson alleged that it had relied on a misrepresentation of Marlboro Light Cigarettes and suffered economic losses because of that misrepresentation. Pearson motioned for class certification and the trial court denied. Phillip motioned for summary judgment on the basis that Pearson's claims were preempted by federal law and the trial court agreed. Pearson appealed. The Court of Appeals held that Pearson's claims were not preempted by federal law. Further, the Court held that the trial court erred in granting Phillip's motion for summary judgment on Pearson's individual claims. The issue of whether Pearson's and other putative class members had actually suffered provable losses, which had resulted from Phillip's representations, were questions that should be litigated in accordance with evidence similar throughout the class. Reversed and remanded.