LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) - Class members who want to participate in a class action settlement against cigarette maker R.J. Reynolds over the company’s so-called “Camel Cash” promotion can do so now.

Class members could start applying to redeem their “C-Notes” for specified non-tobacco merchandise last month.

The Camel Cash promotion ran from Oct. 1, 1991 to March 31, 2007, and rewarded consumers who purchased packs of Reynolds’ Camel brand of cigarettes with “C-Notes” they could use to redeem merchandise listed in a catalogue. The C-notes were enclosed in the cigarette packaging. The catalogue included merchandise like ash trays, pool tables, NASCAR trading cards, apparel, computers and pinball machines.

According to New York law firm Bragar Eagel & Squire PC, counsel for the plaintiffs, class members who no longer have their C-Notes may redeem up to 1,125 C-Notes if they attest to their possession as of Oct. 1, 2006.

Class members who still possess C-Notes that were in their possession as of Oct. 1, 2006 may redeem up to 3,000 C-Notes.

The settlement offer runs from Aug. 1 through Jan. 31, 2017.

The plaintiffs allege that R.J. Reynolds breached a contract related to the consumer loyalty program by failing to offer as Camel Cash rewards non-tobacco merchandise during the period Oct. 1, 2006 through March 31, 2007.

R.J. Reynolds denied the allegations and continues to assert that it did nothing wrong.

In December 2014, Judge Christina A. Snyder for the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California certified a class of consumers.

Then, in May, Snyder granted final approval to a class action settlement in the lawsuit.

Class counsel has asked the court for attorneys’ fees and expenses in the amount of $4.75 million.

Under the settlement, R.J. Reynolds has agreed to pay this amount; the members of the settlement class will not have to pay anything toward the fees or expenses of class counsel.

Also from that award, class counsel has agreed to pay the lead plaintiffs certain incentive awards, ranging from $10,000 to $15,000 each.

A separate but related class action lawsuit filed against R.J. Reynolds was settled in January.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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