Monday, December 22, 2008

Legal Moves Post Altria Preemption Ruling

Article in the Wall Street Journal -- Altria Ruling Ignites Legal Moves, by Brent Kendall.  Here's an excerpt:

The Supreme Court's ruling last week allowing smokers in Maine to sue Altria Group Inc.'s Philip Morris unit for allegedly deceptive advertising of "light" cigarettes already is prompting new legal activity, including an effort to revive a multibillion-dollar case against the tobacco company that had been thrown out.

The high court's decision came just in time for St. Louis trial lawyer Stephen Tillery, who filed a legal motion Thursday seeking to reopen a $10.1 billion judgment in Illinois he obtained against Philip Morris in 2003. The judgment was later tossed out by the Illinois Supreme Court, which said Mr. Tillery's plaintiffs couldn't sue the tobacco company for marketing cigarettes with "light" and "low tar" descriptions.

Mr. Tillery says the U.S. Supreme's Court's 5-4 decision "eviscerates" the legal basis for the Illinois court's ruling and could breathe new life into his case. He was nearing a final deadline for finding a basis to revive the suit.


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