Four Atlantic City casino workers suffering from health problems they attribute to exposure to secondhand smoke at work filed a proposed class action lawsuit on April 23, 1998. The prospective class includes all “nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke, who have not smoked for at least five years, who are residents of the State of New Jersey and who have worked in the casinos of New Jersey.” The plaintiffs allege a broad industry-wide conspiracy to defraud the public about the dangers of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. The plaintiffs seek compensatory damages for injuries already suffered, economic losses and emotional distress. See “Secondhand Smoke Risk Is Found at Casinos,” New York Times, April 14, 1998, B5; “Higher Cancer Risk for Casino Workers; Many Can’t Avoid Secondhand Smoke,” The Record (Bergen County, NJ), April 14, 1998, A2; Smothers, R., “Workers Challenge Casinos’ Role as a Haven for Smokers,” New York Times, May 25, 1998, B1; and Smothers, R., “Clearing the Air at Casinos,” New York Times, May 31, 1998, section 4, page 2.
On April 13, 1999, the court ruled that the plaintiffs cannot pursue class claims. In early December, the court again ruled that the plaintiffs cannot pursue class claims. See “Casino Workers Denied Class Status in Suit,” Los Angeles Times, December 8, 1999, C4.
Avallone, et al. v. American Tobacco Co., Inc., et al., 13.3 TPLR 3.146, New Jersey Superior Court, Atlantic County Law Division (1998).