The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAAP and the National Association of Theatre Owners have come out victorious in
a lawsuit that ludicrously claimed that tobacco imagery in films rated G, PG or PG-13 causes 200,000 children every year to become cigarette smokers and 64,000 people to die as a result.
Now U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg dismissed an attempt to hold major film studios and theater owners legally responsible.
The legal action by Timothy Forsyth claimed that the industry's film-ratings practices amounted to negligence, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, false advertising, unfair competition and nuisance.
In response, Hollywood argued that ratings merely reflect opinions about what's suitable for children and compelling them to give R ratings to anything found socially unacceptable could apply to films depicting activity like alcohol use, gambling,
contact sports, high-speed driving and so forth.
The judge wrote:
Forsyth insists that a rating less stringent than R is a representation that 'the film is suitable for children under seventeen unaccompanied by a parent or guardian. The ratings plainly make no such representations. Rather, the PG and PG-13 ratings
caution parents that material in such movies may be inappropriate for children. More fundamentally, the ratings reflect the consensus opinion of CARA board members. As such, neither intentional nor negligent misrepresentation claims are tenable as
The judge also noted that Forsyth also failed to prove his other claims.