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November 28, 2006

Madison County Gets $17.6 Million Windfall Despite Philip Morris' Escape From $10 Billion Judgment

By the time the U.S. Supreme Court refused yesterday to review the Illinois Supreme Court's decision overturning a $10.1 billion fraud judgment against Philip Morris for its sale of "light" cigarettes, Madison County, Illinois, was nevertheless $17.6 million richer as a result of the case being tried there.  After the judgment was rendered in March 2003, the trial court required Philip Morris to post a $12 billion appeal bond, later reduced to $6 billion by the Illinois Supreme Court.  The bond was secured with a $2.15 billion cash escrow account from which Madison County received a portion of the interest.  The county will be allowed to keep the money in spite of the outcome of the case.  The windfall has been used to pay off virtually all of the county's debt including that on its administration and criminal courts buildings.  It also helped to finance an early-retirement incentive program for county employees and a $2 million computerized radio dispatch system for law enforcement and emergency response use.  The county still has about $3.5 million left over according to Steve Whitworth's story for the Alton (Ill.) Telegraph.

JDP

November 28, 2006 | Permalink

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