SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – A divided Illinois Supreme Court has again rejected a $10.1 billion class-action judgment against cigarette maker Phillip Morris over its marketing of “low-tar” tobacco products.
The 4-2 ruling released Wednesday vacates a 2014 decision by Illinois’ 5th District Appellate Court to reinstate the Madison County verdict. The state Supreme Court first overturned that 2003 decision in 2005.
The lawsuit on behalf of hundreds of thousands of Illinois smokers was one of the nation’s first to accuse a tobacco company of consumer fraud. It claimed that Phillip Morris deceptively marketed “light” and “low-tar” Marlboro cigarettes as a healthier alternative.
The ruling still allows the plaintiffs to file a direct appeal with the state Supreme Court to reinstate the award.