Illinois Supreme Court reverses $10 billion lawsuit against Philip Morris
Springfield, Ill – A spokeswoman says Philip Morris USA is "gratified" that the Illinois Supreme Court has thrown out a $10 billion class-action lawsuit against the company.
The divided court ruled Thursday morning that Philip Morris, a division of Altria Group, did not defraud customers in its marketing of "light" cigarettes.
The court said the Federal Trade Commission allowed companies to characterize their cigarettes as "light" and "low tar," so Philip Morris did not improperly mislead customers about its cigarettes' health impact.
Two of the court's seven justices filed written dissents. A third didn't take part in case because he had a professional relationship with an attorney in the case.
The court reversed the verdict and sent the case back to a Madison County court with instructions to dismiss the matter.
The case prompted intense criticism of the Madison County court system, which business advocates say is biased in favor of class-action plaintiffs.
President Bush visited the county early this year to push for changes in the tort system.