MoGASP speaks out against smoking lawsuit
By Anna Vitale
Mar 11, 2011 11:54 am
Lawsuit, U.S. District Court in St. Louis
A state anti-smoking organization has spoken out against a federal lawsuit filed March 3 over Clayton’s outdoor smoking ban.
“We’re trying to suggest that this is a frivolous lawsuit,” said Martin Pion, president of Missouri Group Against Smoking Pollution, or MoGASP.
Arthur Gallagher, represented by St. Louis attorney Bevis Schock, is the named plaintiff in the potential class action. Gallagher is a smoker who also likes to visit parks. The city of Clayton penalizes outdoor smoking in its parks with penalties of up to $1,000 and 90 days in jail. Gallagher asserts that violates the due process and equal protection clauses under the 14th Amendment, among other allegations.
Pion, who is not a lawyer, said MoGASP was not planning to try and intervene in the case. He said his group doesn’t have the means to do so.
Gallagher argues there is no health risk from outdoor smoking, but Pion said that’s not true for everyone.
“If you are very smoke-sensitive, I’ve been told it doesn’t take much to bring about an asthma attack, and an asthma attack can be fatal,” Pion said. “Even a single exposure can be fatal.”