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Tuesday, May 28, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

$10 Billion Tobacco Case Is Dead

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (CN) - A multibillion-dollar class action against tobacco giant Philip Morris cannot be reopened, a Madison County judge said.

Judge Dennis Ruth found that the plaintiffs failed to show that information revealed in subsequent cases would not have changed the outcome.

Plaintiffs' attorneys in August asked the judge to reopen the case.

The case, which claimed that Philip Morris violated Illinois law by marketing "light" and "lowered tar and nicotine" cigarettes as healthier options, was originally filed in 2000.

It made national headlines in 2003 when now-retired Judge Nicholas Byron ordered $10.1 billion in compensatory and punitive damages.

It was the first time a tobacco company lost a consumer fraud case, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The Illinois Supreme Court reversed the judgment in 2005. The court agreed with defense arguments that the Federal Trade Commission had authorized the wording for cigarette descriptions. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the verdict in 2006, causing the case to be dismissed.

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