Claims against Hill and Knowlton in the Florida Medicaid law suit
against the tobacco industry, have been partially dismissed.
It is the first time that PR agencies have been implicated in the
growing number of state legal cases against tobacco companies in the
Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Harold Cohen ruled that the PR agency
could not be held liable for health injuries suffered by thousands of
Medicaid patients because it had never been involved in the manufacture
or sale of cigarettes.
Hill and Knowlton dropped its last tobacco client in 1963 - the case
concerns allegations previous to this date.
The Florida case will be the first state litigation against the tobacco
firms to reach court on 4 August. H&K has been freed from liability in a
H&K was also named as a defendant in a similar suit filed in Oregon last
month. A total of 36 US states are now seeking damages for healthcare
spending related to illness allegedly caused by smoking.
Florida is seeking around dollars 1 billion (pounds 600 million) in
damages from the tobacco companies and plans to spend the cash on an
anti-smoking campaign targeting young people.