"...the appeals court decertified the class of plaintiffs, saying a "light" smoker might have "preferred the taste" or chosen light cigarettes as a matter of personal style.
"Individualised proof is needed to overcome the possibility that a member of the purported class purchased Lights for some reason other than the belief that Lights were a healthier alternative," Circuit Judge John Walker Jr. wrote in the 39-page decision.
"We are certainly pleased with the court's ruling and agree with its reasoning," said Martin L. Holton III, general counsel for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. "Numerous courts across the country have held that claims such as these simply cannot be tried as class actions."
John Mercer Walker, Jr. (born December 26, 1940), is a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and a cousin of U.S. Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. At the time of his appointment to the court in 1989, he was a United States District Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. He was Chief Judge of the Second Circuit from October 1, 2000, until October 1, 2006, when he assumed senior status.
Walker was born in New York City. He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1958, and received his B.A. from Yale University in 1962, where he was a member of Wolf's Head Society, and his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1966.
Walker is married with a daughter and three stepsons, and lives in Madison, Connecticut. He is the son of Dr. John Mercer Walker, Sr. and Elsie Louise Mead. His uncle is George Herbert Walker, Jr., cofounder of the New York Mets. He is a first cousin of U.S. President George H.W. Bush, the two having a grandfather in common, George Herbert Walker. He is also a first cousin, once removed, of U.S. President George W. Bush.
The beginning of an esteemed Yale College (New Haven, Connecticut) tradition of students challenging the society system and then accepting its rewards was the decision of fifteen members of the Yale Class of 1884 to abet the incorporation of The Third Society, later known as Wolf's Head Society (W.H.S.). Incorporated in 1883 as The Third Society by the Phelps Trust Association, W.H.S. is the third oldest senior or secret society at the liberal arts college (allowing for the societies -- Book and Snake, Berzelius and St. Elmo's -- associated with the Sheffield Scientific School, a division of Yale for science and engineering students, 1854 - 1956). Members of the Yale Class of 1884 joined forces with over 300 Yale alumni to counter the dominance of Skull and Bones and Scroll and Key in undergraduate and university affairs.