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Friday, June 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

$10 Billion Tobacco|Case Snuffed Again

SPRINGFIELD, Ill (CN) - The Illinois Supreme Court denied Philip Morris' request for direct appeal in a long-running, dismissed $10 billion case over cigarette labeling.

The decade-long class action was revived when St. Louis attorney Stephen Tillery filed an appeal for the plaintiffs, seeking relief from Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth's Dec. 12, 2012 dismissal of the $10.1 billion verdict against Philip Morris.

The class action, filed in 2000, accused Philip Morris of deceptively promoting health benefits of "light" and "lowered tar and nicotine" cigarettes.

The tobacco giant asked the court to transfer its appeal from the Fifth District Appellate Court directly to the state supreme court on Jan. 8.

The Illinois Supreme Court did not give a reason for its rejection.

The case 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 of cigarette descriptions. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the verdict in 2006, causing the case to be dismissed.

Plaintiff attorneys revived the case in August, asking Ruth to reopen the case.

Ruth found in favor of Philip Morris in his December ruling, prompting the appeal.

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