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James Robert Thompson

Illinois Supreme Court to hear $10B Philip Morris appeal

Illinois Supreme Court to hear $10B Philip Morris appeal

The fate of a $10.1 billion class-action judgment against the nation's largest cigarette maker is in the hands of justices at the Illinois Supreme Court, who heard oral arguments Tuesday in Philip Morris USA's appeal to have the on-again, off-again verdict struck down.

The more than decade-old lawsuit — one of the nation's first to accuse a tobacco company of consumer fraud — claimed that Philip Morris deceptively marketed "light" and "low-tar" cigarettes as a healthier alternative.

The initial Madison County trial ended in 2003 with the multibillion dollar verdict against Philip Morris, a subsidiary of Virginia-based Altria Group Inc. The state's high...