Supreme Court To Hear $10B Philip Morris Appeal
A case with a $10 billion verdict at stake returns to the Illinois Supreme Court this morning a decade after justices threw it out.
The heart of the question is whether tobacco giant Philip Morris defrauded smokers by pitching "light" cigarettes.
Back in 2003, a court ruled "yes" and granted smokers a monster $10 billion judgment.
It was reversed by the Illinois Supreme Court, citing federal regulations.
It volleyed the case down to a lower court.
Justice Lloyd Karmeier, who eked out another decade term in November's election, will once again be on the bench.
Karmeier’ s first election set records for spending. His campaign had indirectly benefited from a half-million dollar donation from Philip Morris's parent company.
Critics are upset Karmeier voted to let Philip Morris off its $10 billion hook and denounced him for not recusing himself ten years ago.
They unsuccessfully tried to bounce him from ruling this round as well.
UPDATE - Former Illinois Gov. Jim Thompson and another Phillip Morris lawyer asked the court Tuesday to strike that verdict.
The verdict that Phillip Morris fraudulently marketed "light'' and "low-tar'' cigarettes as safer than others came in 2003. The state's high court subsequently threw it out. But an appellate court last year reinstated the 12-year-old verdict.
The core dispute is whether regulators allowed cigarette makers to label cigarettes "light'' and "low-tar.''
Phillip Morris attorneys argued they were given permission to label cigarettes that way. But a plaintiff attorney said regulators didn't OK that labeling practice and so Phillip Morris engaged in a "massive fraud'' by do so.