Supreme Court hears $10B Phillip Morris appeal

AP News
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Posted: May 19, 2015 12:58 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Supreme Court has heard oral arguments about whether to let a $10 billion class-action verdict against a major cigarette maker stand.

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.