Philip Morris Sued Again in Illinois Court Over ‘Light’ Cigarettes
Philip Morris USA is being sued again in a Madison County, Ill., Circuit Court for allegedly defrauding Illinois residents by marketing its "light" cigarettes, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (Hampel, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 5/6). An Illinois Circuit Court judge on March 21 found Philip Morris USA liable of misleading consumers about the health risks of its "light" cigarettes and ordered the company to pay $10.1 billion in damages. Plaintiffs did not claim smoking-related illnesses but instead alleged that Philip Morris marketed Marlboro Lights and Cambridge Lights cigarettes as a "healthier alternative" to other types of cigarettes (California Healthline, 3/24). The new suit, filed on May 2, makes the same allegations, but this time alleges that Philip Morris improperly marketed more than 20 of its cigarette brands, including Benson & Hedges Lights, Virginia Slims Lights and Parliament Lights. Joy Howell, a spokesperson for the law firm Carr Korein Tillery, said the lawsuit developed from the discovery process in the first case (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 5/6). John Mulderig, an attorney for Philip Morris, said the new suit is a "carbon copy" of the first suit, with different brand names inserted.
In the second lawsuit, lawyers for Philip Morris have a new option to defend the company, the Belleville News-Democrat reports (Brueggemann, Belleville News-Democrat, 5/6). An Illinois Supreme Court rule that recently took effect allows an appellate court to review the certification of the lawsuit's class-action status (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 5/6). Certification allows a judge to determine if a large group of people with similar claims against a defendant should be grouped together. Philip Morris is currently appealing the outcome of the first trial, claiming that the class-action status should not have been certified, according to the News-Democrat. Stephen Tillery, the lead attorney for plaintiffs in both cases, could not be reached for comment by the News-Democrat (Belleville News-Democrat, 5/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.