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$10 Billion Ill. Tobacco Class Action Back On

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By Jason Beahm on March 09, 2011 5:46 AM

Those good old tobacco cases just never quite go away.

Take the $10-billion verdict against Altria Group in the Price v. Philip Morris. The Fifth District Appellate Court of Illinois has just reinstated the verdict.

A Madison County Judge had ruled that Philip Morris, a unit of Altria, intentionally misled Illinois smokers about the dangerous of light or low-tar cigarettes and hit the company with over $10 billion in damages. That 2003 decision was later overturned.

The Illinois Supreme Court later overruled the decision, finding that the Federal Trade Commission had authorized cigarette companies to use "light, low or reduced" in descriptions of cigarettes. The case was later appealed after a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision discredited the basis of the earlier ruling, the ABA Journal reports.

Judge Melissa Chapman and Justices Bruce Stewart and James Wexstten ruled that the passing of two years did not terminate the appeal, writing "we do not believe that the ends of justice would be served if trial courts were unable to grant relief under the unusual circumstances presented here ... We find little guidance in answering the question before us," the Madison Record reports.

The case has now been sent back to the trial court in Madison County, Illinois, for further proceedings against Philip Morris and Altria.

Just when you thought a tobacco case was dead - it comes back to life.

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