St. Louis Public Radio News
1:20 pm
Wed April 2, 2003

IL Considers Lower Appeal Bonds for Big Tobacco

Springfield, IL – Health advocates spoke out Wednesday against a measure in the Illinois legislature that would cap appeal bonds for tobacco companies.

A judge ordered the Philip Morris tobacco company to put up the full amount of a recent consumer fraud judgment $12 billion to appeal.

But Mark Peysakhovich of the American Heart Association says a law that would limit that amount is wrong.

"This simply looks like a bluff, intended to blackmail public officials into
taking the extraordinary step of protecting this corporate criminal and cheat," he said.

Philip Morris says if it has to pay another large judgment, it will not be able to continue payments from the 1998 Master Settlement money for which many states have already budgeted.