A three-judge appellate court panel in Pennsylvania ruled Thursday that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. must release lists of smokers and employees who sued Lorillard Inc. related to cigarette filters that contained asbestos.
Reynolds inherited the legal liability as part of its $29.25 billion purchase of Lorillard in July 2015. Reynolds could not be reached for comment on the ruling.
The lists are being sought in a Superior Court trial in Philadelphia involving the widow of Samuel Steiner, who smoked Kent cigarettes that used “micronite” filters containing asbestos from 1952 to 1956. He was given a diagnosis of mesothelioma in 2014.
According to the Mayo Clinic, malignant mesothelioma is a type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of internal organs. Mesothelioma treatments are available, but for many people a cure is not possible.
Another defendant is Hollingsworth & Vose Co., which made the filters for the Kent cigarettes.
The lawsuit was filed in March 2016.
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