Posted Mar 02, 2010 05:33 pm CST
Philip Morris USA filed lawsuits on Monday against eight retailers it says is selling counterfeit versions of the company’s popular Marlboro brand cigarettes in New York and New Jersey.
In a news release about the filings, Philip Morris says New York and New Jersey are particularly vulnerable to counterfeit cigarette traffickers because of high excise taxes there.
The Associated Press reports that a pack of Marlboro cigarettes can cost more than $10 in New York City.
“Counterfeit cigarettes are almost always sold without the appropriate federal and state excise tax,” the release says. Because the packages have no tax stamp on them, real or counterfeit, they are easy to spot. Indeed, all the retailers targeted in the litigation stocked Marlboros that lacked a tax stamp.
Philip Morris is asking the court to ban 35 retailers from purchasing, distributing or selling counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes. The company also wants the retailers to hand over profits and be penalized with punitive damages.