Badillo, et al. v. The American Tobacco Inc., et al.

Nine casino dealers filed a class-action lawsuit against 17 tobacco companies and organizations seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages.  The complaint seeks class certification of up to 45,000 casino dealers working in Nevada, along with their estates and family members.  The Plaintiffs are also seeking to get medical monitoring for the dealers who have had years of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke on the job.  The complaint contends that “the defendants’ conduct was intentional and/or outrageous, and beyond the bounds of reasonableness, and was in reckless disregard for the safety of the plaintiffs and the class members.”  See Whaley, S., “Secondhand Smoke Leads to Lawsuit,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, October 10, 1997, 1B.  On April 22, 1998, the Court (Reed, J.) denied the motions to dismiss of all the defendants except American Tobacco Co., which has already merged with Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co.  See Riley, B., “Nevada Court Reviews Casino Dealers’ Secondhand Smoke Case,” Las Vegas Sun, September 14, 2000; Ryan, C., “Dealers Take Case Against Tobacco to Supreme Court,” Las Vegas Sun, September 15, 2000; and Whaley, S., “Second-Hand Smoke Lawsuit: Monitoring Plan Argued,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, September 15, 2000.

The district court sent two certified questions to the Nevada Supreme Court: 1) whether Nevada common law recognizes a medical monitoring cause of action or remedy where medical testing facilitates the detection of diseases resulting from exposure to a toxic substance; and 2) if Nevada common law recognizes a medical monitoring cause of action or remedy, what elements must a plaintiff prove to be entitled to medical monitoring.  The Nevada Supreme Court concluded, at 16 P.3d 435, 2001 Nev. LEXIS 7, 117 Nev. Adv. Op. No. 4, that Nevada common law does not recognize a cause of action for medical monitoring.  The court also ruled that, while a remedy of medical monitoring might be available for an underlying cause of action, neither party briefed the issue nor set for the cause of action to which it would provide a remedy.  Thus, it does not have an answer to the second question.  See Whaley, S., “Dealers’ Lawsuit Hurt by Ruling,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, January 31, 2001, 4D; and “Casino Dealers Lose Ruling on Tobacco Smoke,” Las Vegas Sun, January 31, 2001.

On June 29, 2001, the district court (Pro, J.) denied class certification, at 202 F.R.D. 261, 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10233.  See “Class-action Status Denied to Casino Workers in Smoking Case,” Las Vegas Sun, July 5, 2001; and Ritter, K., “Tobacco Lawsuit: Class-action Status Denied,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, July  6, 2001.

Badillo, et al. v. The American Tobacco Inc., et al., No. CV-N-97-00573-DWH, (D. Nev. 1997).