Supreme Court To Hear $10B Philip Morris Appeal

Man smoking a cigarette.

The Illinois Supreme Court this morning will hear a case about whether tobacco company Philip Morris should have to pay ten BILLION dollars ... for defrauding smokers with its advertising for so-called "light" cigarettes.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

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.

Story source: Illinois Public Radio