Judge mulls class-action status for casino smoking suit

Copyright 1998 Associated Press
October 4, 1998

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- A judge must decide whether to let all Atlantic City casino workers join a lawsuit against eight tobacco companies alleging casino workers suffer serious health effects from second-hand smoke.

Four employees of the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino are suing the America Tobacco Co.; R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.; Phillip Morris Inc.; Liggett & Meyers Inc.; Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co.; United States Tobacco Co.; Dosal Tobacco Corp., and the Tobacco Institute.

They claim they have suffered physical and emotional consequences from breathing second-hand smoke from gamblers.

The Press of Atlantic City reported in Sunday's editions that Superior Court Judge Marina Corodemus in New Brunswick is considering whether to grant class-action status to the suit, opening the case to employees ranging from dealers to cocktail servers.

Tobacco company lawyers claim the case should not be granted class-action status. They say the plaintiffs' alleged maladies are not similar enough to warrant class-action status.

The plaintiffs are Joseph Avallone and Gerri Murphy of Atlantic County; Joan Zaryck of Burlington County and Joseph Yaniak of Camden County.

Their lawsuit also seeks an award for medical monitoring in which casino workers would be periodically checked to see if their health is suffering from working in the casinos.

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