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Illinois Supreme Court Overturns

$10.1 Billion Judgment Against Philip Morris

Illinois (Courtesy, AP & Illinois Civil Justice League) -The Illinois Supreme Court threw out a $10 billion class-action lawsuit against Philip Morris USA on December 15, ruling the company did not defraud customers in its marketing for "light" cigarettes.

The court reversed the verdict and sent the case back to Madison County court with instruction to dismiss the matter.

 

The deeply divided Supreme Court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission specifically allowed companies to characterize their cigarettes as "light" and "low tar," so Philip Morris did not improperly mislead customers about the health impacts of its cigarettes.

 

Madison County Judge Nicholas Byron agreed that Philip Morris misled customers into believing they were buying a less harmful cigarette. In March 2003, he ordered the company to pay $10.1 billion - $5 billion in compensatory damages, $3 billion in punitive damages and $2.1 billion in interest.

 

Hear Audio Interview with ICJL President Ed Murnane

 

Read Court Opinion

 

Read Press Release from Illinois Civil Justice League

 

Illinois Civil Justice League Releases New Study

Nov. 18, 2005 Chicago, IL Reprinted courtesy ICJL -The Illinois Civil Justice League released a new report, "Litigation Imbalance," on Thursday as part of ICJL testimony before the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee on a venue reform bill.

 

The study details the level of civil litigation in all 102 Illinois counties during the past 10 years and dramatically shows the high level of civil litigation in selected jurisdictions, including Madison and Cook Counties.   Read More

Watch Out Delaware;

We're Chasing Them Out Of Illinois

 A new investigation into one of the most active asbestos litigation firms in Illinois, Simmons Cooper of Madison County, and their attempt to move their cases to new, "friendlier" venues in Delaware.  July 19, 2005   Read Op-Ed 

 

The Illinois Civil Justice League is a coalition of Illinois citizens, small and large businesses, associations, professional societies, not-for-profit organizations and local governments that have joined together to work for fairness in the Illinois civil justice system.

The League's agenda is limited to working for, and preservation of, a civil justice system that is fair to all Illinois citizens and interests.

The League, with its members, was the principal author and proponent of major tort liability reform in the Illinois General Assembly in 1995. One of the immediate impacts of the new law was a sharp reduction in the number of civil lawsuits in Illinois following enactment of the law by Governor Jim Edgar, a reduction that saved Illinois taxpayers and consumers millions of dollars.

 Yet in a controversial and highly questionable ruling, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned that law in 1997.

The conditions that necessitated sweeping tort reform legislation in 1995 have not disappeared; in fact, they have worsened since the Supreme Court's ruling and thus the agenda and objectives of the Illinois Civil Justice League continue, with a concentration in specific areas:

The League believes a fair and impartial judiciary is essential to a fair civil justice system. Thus the ICJL and its members will closely monitor the performance of judges and will evaluate the qualifications and experience of candidates for the judiciary.

The League believes the three branches of Illinois government, Executive, Legislative and Judiciary, are separate, with clearly defined responsibilities. One of the responsibilities of the Legislative branch is the establishment of public policy, including laws dealing with tort liability and other aspects of the Code of Civil Procedure. It is not the function of the Judiciary to establish public policy.

The League believes the reforms enacted in the Civil Justice Reform Amendments of 1995 were necessary and constitutional, and thus the League will support and lead future efforts to enact similar legislation.

The League will work with its members and the public to ensure that the benefits of civil justice reform are realized and understood. These benefits may include a reduction in the amount of litigation, reduced liability costs, more favorable economic conditions and a more favorable business climate.

Widespread public support for civil justice reform was one of the principle reasons for the League's success in 1995. It is important to maintain public awareness of the problems of lawsuit abuse and thus the League will continue to serve as a champion for a fair civil justice system in the news media, through public speeches, and in the halls of government as necessary.

Recognizing that many League members and other Illinois concerns conduct business in other states, the League will work with other state and national tort reform organizations to help their efforts by sharing information concerning Illinois activities and our successes.

The League understands that a favorable political environment is crucial to maintaining a fair civil justice system and thus the League will work through JUSTPAC, its Political Action Committee, to maintain a favorable environment in the Illinois General Assembly and other appropriate offices. The League will support candidates who are committed to League objectives and the League will assist and encourage candidates to become knowledgeable and articulate on civil justice issues.

 

 

If you know of or have authored an article or report that deserves recognition among corporate and public policy leaders, please send an email to LegalReform@lawexec.com

 

 

Ed Murnane

Illinois Civil Justice League

P.O. Box 308

Arlington Heights, IL

60006-0308

847-222-9673

www.icjl.org emurnane@icjl.org

 

New Paper by

Ed Murnane,

Illinois Civil

Justice League 

in conjunction with Washington Legal Foundation

"Legal Reform Inches Along In Illinois"

Download PDF

 

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