case that led to a landmark $10
billion verdict against cigarette maker Philip Morris in a class-action
lawsuit filed by Korein
Tillery has been reinstated by an appellate court more than five
years after it was dismissed on an order by the Illinois Supreme Court.
In an extremely rare and remarkable turn of events, the Fifth District
Appellate Court of Illinois on Feb. 24 remanded Price
v. Philip Morris to the trial court in Madison County for further
The Appellate Court ruling came only on the issue of the timeliness of
Korein Tillery's appeal of the dismissal of the case by the trial court
in 2006 when it acted under specific instructions by the Illinois
Supreme Court. The effect of the ruling, however, is to revive the case
and to allow Korein Tillery to argue that a decision by the U.S. Supreme
Court in December 2008 in a factually similar case against the company
that owns Philip Morris - Altria
Group Inc. v. Good - proves that the Illinois Supreme Court decision
was in error.
In a prepared statement, Stephen
M. Tillery of Korein Tillery said: "Since the U.S. Supreme Court
entered its ruling in Altria Group Inc. v. Good in December 2008,
we have believed that the Illinois Supreme Court erred in reversing the
$10 billion class-action verdict in favor of our clients in the Price
v. Philip Morris case in Madison County in 2005. This ruling by the
Fifth District Appellate Court reinstating Price in Madison
County gives us the opportunity to prove that point."
Here is a timeline of court rulings to put the Appellate Court decision
March 31, 2003. After a three-month bench trial in Madison County
Circuit Court, the trial judge entered a verdict of $10 billion against
Philip Morris (owned by Altria Group Inc.) in favor of a class of
plaintiffs. Korein Tillery argued the plaintiffs were harmed by
deceptive advertising by Philip Morris when it claimed that cigarettes
it called "light" or "low tar or nicotine" or "reduced" cigarettes were
safer than regular cigarettes when the company knew they were not safer.
December 15, 2005. Ruling on Philip Morris's appeal that bypassed
the Appellate Court, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the verdict
based on Philip Morris's claim that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC (News - Alert))
had authorized cigarette companies to use "light, low or reduced" in
descriptions of cigarettes.
November 27, 2006. The U.S. Supreme Court refused Korein
Tillery's request to hear an appeal of the Illinois Supreme Court
December 18, 2006. In accordance with the order from the Illinois
Supreme Court reversal, the trial court in Madison County dismissed the
December 15, 2008. In a case very similar to Price v. Philip
Morris, the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Altria Group Inc v. Good that
the FTC never authorized cigarette makers to use the "light, low, or
reduced" terms for the cigarettes. The FTC had denied authorizing such
terms. The Court reversed a dismissal of the suit.
December 18, 2008. Just three days after the U.S. Supreme Court
decision, Korein Tillery filed an appeal with the Fifth District
Appellate Court arguing that the decision in Good showed that the
Illinois Supreme Court erred in reversing the verdict based on the claim
that the FTC had authorized Philip Morris (Altria) to use the specific
terms suggesting their cigarettes were safer. After the trial court
ruled that the petition was not timely, an appeal was taken to the Fifth
District Court of Appeals.
Feb. 24, 2011. The Appellate Court ruled in favor of Korein
Tillery and rejected Philip Morris's argument that Korein Tillery's
appeal wasn't filed within two years of the Illinois Supreme Court
decision on November 2006. The Appellate Court ruled that Korein Tillery
had two years after the trial court dismissed the case on December 18,
2006, to file an appeal, and that its appeal on December 18, 2008, was
filed in time. The Appellate Court reversed the trial court's dismissal
of the case and remanded it to the trial court "for further
proceedings," which are not specified.
Due to the revived status of the Price v. Philip Morris case, Mr.
Tillery will not answer media questions nor make additional comments at
this time. The defendant is entitled to appeal this new order to the
Illinois Supreme Court and Korein Tillery will await further court
action before discussing next steps or the merits of the case.
Korein Tillery is a an AV-rated, award-winning class action law firm
with offices in St. Louis and Chicago that has recovered billions of
dollars in verdicts and settlements in a variety of cases across the
country involving pension funds, insurance, securities,
antitrust, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, environmental
contamination, tobacco, computer technology, and consumer fraud. Perhaps
best known for its $10 billion trial verdict against Philip Morris, the
firm has gained a national reputation for aggressively and successfully
pursuing a wide variety of complex cases on behalf of its
clients. Korein Tillery was named by the National Law Journal to its
"Plaintiffs' Hot List" in 2003, 2004, 2007, and 2008 as one of the top
plaintiffs' law firms in all specialties. More information is available
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