Updated 3:40 p.m. with company comment.
The Illinois Supreme Court has rejected cigarette-maker Philip Morris USA's quest to toss out a lower court's revival of a lawsuit that produced a $10.1 billion verdict against the company.
Wednesday's decision affirms a Mount Vernon-based appellate court's February ruling that sends the case back to southwestern Illinois' Madison County, where a judge sided with plaintiffs in a suit over Philip Morris' marketing of "light" cigarettes. The state's high court later threw out that verdict.
The latest ruling clears the way for the plaintiffs to argue that a favorable 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision may be applied to reinstate the Madison County case.
An attorney for the plaintiffs says Wednesday's decision moves the judgment a step closer to confirmation and calls Wednesday's decision "sound."
An attorney for Philip Morris' parent company says the plaintiffs still "have a huge mountain to climb."