$10B Verdict Restored In Philip Morris Light Cigarettes Lawsuit

An Illinois appeals court reinstated a $10 billion verdict on April 29 in a class action accusing Philip Morris USA Inc. of deceptively marketing light cigarettes. The appellate court said a lower court wrongly speculated that Illinois Supreme Court justices would have favored the defendant despite new evidence.

The ruling revived an 11-year-old case which found that Phillip Morris broke the law by falsely advertising that light cigarettes are safer than other types of cigarettes. It was the first lawsuit in the country to accuse a tobacco company of consumer fraud.

Later, the Illinois Supreme Court dismissed the verdict, ruling that Federal Trade Commission allows companies to label their tobacco products as light or low tar. The ruling went on to say that the company couldn’t be held liable, even if the information was misleading. The U.S. Supreme Court let the decision stand in 2006.

However, in 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in favor (5-4) of three Maine residents who argued that smokers should have the right to use state consumer protection laws to sue cigarette makers for promoting light brands.

Stephen Tillery, the lead lawyer for the Illinois class action, argued that the ruling counted as new evidence and wanted the case reopened. The appellate court agreed. A bunch of appeals led to the reinstatement of the $10 billion verdict.

Consumer rights must be protected. Chris Placitella, Esq. is a partner at Cohen, Placitella & Roth, and an established national influencer in legal circles. If you or a loved one believe your legal rights have been violated, contact him today.

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