… And It Is Over.

August 24, 2007

Light Cigarette Suit Snuffed Out by Ill. High Court

“The Illinois Supreme Court has ordered a lower-court judge to stop asking for permission to reopen a failed lawsuit against Philip Morris USA over the company’s light cigarettes, effectively putting an end to the high-profile litigation.

In the 4-2 ruling Wednesday, the high court offered no explanation for the two-paragraph order that Madison County, Ill., Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron stop asking the state’s 5th District Appellate Court whether he has authority to reopen the lawsuit.

‘The court’s action today is entirely predictable because it quickly and quietly closes the book on a case that a majority of this court, I am sure, would rather forget,’ Justice Charles Freeman wrote in dissent.

In March 2003, Byron issued a $10.1 billion judgment against Philip Morris USA, saying the company misled customers into believing they were buying a less harmful cigarette. Philip Morris is a unit of New York-based Altria Group Inc.”

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