Court Won't Hear Tobacco Appeal in Louisiana Case

June 27, 2011 - 1:30 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will leave alone a state court order requiring tobacco companies to pay $270 million for a smoking cessation program in Louisiana.

The justices on Monday turned away an appeal from cigarette makers in a long-running class-action lawsuit first filed by Louisiana smokers in May 1996.

The smokers prevailed at every step in state courts, but Justice Antonin Scalia temporarily blocked payment of the money in September, citing concerns that the cigarette makers might have been deprived of their legal rights.

Last week, the court ended a massive class action on behalf of up to 1.6 million women who work at Wal-Mart. That case turned on federal rules governing class actions, and by rejecting the tobacco case, the justices indicated there was no overlap between the two.