A series of events giving the Illinois Supreme Court a second chance to decide a class-action tobacco case had lawyers before the justices in Springfield Tuesday. Oral arguments came in Price vs. Philip Morris, a suit over whether Philip Morris was wrong to market “light” and “low tar” cigarettes as safe. The court had ruled with the tobacco company but got the case back in a disagreement over whether state or federal law – the latter of which allowed such marketing – should prevail.
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“The $10 billion class judgment includes countless, countless smokers who have no conceivable right to recover,” said Lisa Blatt, a Philip Morris attorney. “Smokers have no claim if they were never deceived, if they would have purchased lights anyway, or if they received less tar and nicotine from smoking lights.”
The plaintiffs’ lawyer says Big Tobacco did an excellent job of marketing “safer” cigarettes that were just as harmful as the regular kind.
“The market share for lights went from zero to over 80 percent over a 30-year period,” said David Frederick. “But the epidemiological evidence showed no reduction in cancer at all.”