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Kirksey v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
168 F.3d 1039 (1999)


Kirksey, as executor of her husband’s estate (plaintiff), sued R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and another cigarette manufacturer (defendants), alleging that the defendants were liable for hastening her husband’s death from lung cancer by: (1) falsely advertising that their cigarettes were not addictive and (2) adding addicting agents to their products without disclosing that fact. The federal court had jurisdiction on the basis of diversity; Kirksey’s claims were brought under Illinois law. The defendants moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 12(b)(6). Kirksey responded to the motion by arguing that she was not obligated, at this point in the litigation, to specify the legal bases for her claims. Kirksey further asserted that her claims were not easily characterized by existing legal doctrine and that her allegations met the pleading requirements of FRCP 8(a)(2). The district court held that Kirksey had waived her claims by failing to adequately respond to the defendants’ motion to dismiss. Kirksey appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Posner, C.J.)

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