St. Louis Public Radio News
4:51 pm
Tue April 8, 2003

State AG's Ask Illinois Judge To Lower Bond

Springfield, Ill. – Attorneys general from 37 states have asked a Madison County judge to lower the amount of money Philip Morris must pay to appeal a recent ruling.

The judge awarded plaintiffs $10.1 billion in a case over the company's light cigarettes. But in order to appeal, the cigarette maker must put $12 billion in a special bond.

The attorneys general say that could jeopardize Philip Morris's next payment in the national tobacco settlement. A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday morning.

The friend-of-the-court brief was filed Monday in Madison County by the attorneys general. It's aim is to ensure that the 1998 national tobacco settlement money continues to flow to state budgets.

The case which the world's biggest cigarette maker lost involved accusations that it tricked smokers into believing light cigarettes are less harmful than regular brands.

The judge gave the company until April 21st to post the bond to cover the verdict and court costs.