Madison County

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Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky used in this report.

An annual ranking again cites Illinois as a state rife with "judicial hell holes." But a group representing trial lawyers says the listing is bunk.

The American Tort Reform Association ranks Madison, St. Clair and McLean Counties among the most unfair court jurisdictions in the nation. And Cook County's on the watch list.

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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.

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Another heat-related death has been reported in Madison County, Ill.

Mildred M. Guide, 79, of Collinsville, Ill. is the latest person to fall victim to this season's sweltering weather, the Madison County Coroner announced in a statement.

According to the coroner's statement, Guide's home had a working air conditioner installed, but that it had been turned off. The temperature inside the house was reportedly near a possible 100 degrees.

Two dogs, kept as family pets, were also found dead inside the home, the coroner's statement said.

The first heat-related death reported in Madison County this season was that of 51-year-old Mitsunari Uechi on July 11.

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The sweltering summer temperatures that have gripped the Midwest are being blamed in the suspected heat-stroke death of a 51-year-old man in southwestern Illinois.

Madison County Coroner Stephen Nonn says Mitsunari Uechi was found unresponsive Sunday night in his Granite City mobile home by his live-in mother and later was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Nonn says the home's air conditioner wasn't working, and the man's body temperature was 104 degrees when he arrived at the hospital.