Tillery confident that recent USSC decision will reopen tobacco case

Steve Korris Jun. 28, 2007, 11:50am


Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court have rendered a decision that will force the Illinois Supreme Court to restore a $10 billion judgment that class action attorney Stephen Tillery won against Philip Morris, according to Tillery.

The Illinois Supreme Court in 2005 ordered Madison County Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron to dismiss the suit, and Byron did so last December.

Tillery moved in January to reopen it.

He argued that the Illinois Justices committed an error in deciding that the Federal Trade Commission authorized light labeling for cigarettes.

He argued that the U.S. Solicitor General repudiated that position in Watson v. Philip Morris, a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Byron held a hearing in May and certified questions of his jurisdiction to the Fifth District appellate court in Mount Vernon.

Philip Morris, through former Gov. Jim Thompson, petitioned the state Supreme Court to honor the order dismissing the case.

Fifth District judges sent Byron's questions to the Illinois Supreme Court.

On June 13 Tillery associate Donald Flack informed the state Supreme Court that the U.S. Supreme Court decided the Watson case as he predicted they would.

Flack wrote, "The Court emphatically repudiated Philip Morris's central contention that the FTC delegated authority to it and other tobacco companies."

He wrote that, "…its decision demonstrates, as one commentator puts it, 'that Philip Morris greatly exaggerated the regulatory actions of the Federal Trade Commission.'"

He identified the commentator as Adam Jadhav of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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U.S. Supreme Court
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