Philip Morris Scores Another Victory

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Philip Morris Scores Another Victory

NEW YORK -- The Illinois Supreme Court denied requests that would have reopened a case filed by the state's "light" cigarette smokers against Philip Morris USA, the largest U.S. cigarette maker, according to a court document cited in a Reuters report.

The 4-2 ruling, posted on the court's Web site on Wednesday, stamps out efforts by plaintiffs to resurrect the failed case against PM USA, a unit of Altria Group Inc. The plaintiffs had sued the company on behalf of Illinois residents who had bought "light" cigarettes since the introduction of Marlboro Lights in 1971, the report stated.

The lower court had found in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded them $10.1 billion in damages, but the decision was overturned by the state Supreme Court, which also directed the lower court to dismiss the action last year, Reuters reported.

In May of this year, though, after the U.S. Supreme Court took up another case against PM, the circuit court of Madison County asked whether it had jurisdiction to consider the plaintiff's request to set aside the Illinois Supreme Court's judgment in light of new developments.

On Wednesday, the state Supreme Court denied that request and directed the lower court to enter an order dismissing the plaintiffs' motion. Two justices did dissent.

"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 his dissent, according to Reuters.