Philip Morris Gets Hit With $10.1 Billion AwardMar 21, 2003 | www.thestreet.com
Philip Morris has been ordered to pay a $10.1 billion judgment in a class-action case brought by smokers who claim they were deceived by claims that "light" cigarettes were safer than so-called full-flavored cigarettes.
A state judge in Illinois on Friday ordered the cigarette maker's parent company, Altria, to pay $7.1 billion in compensatory damages to smokers and $3 billion in punitive damages to the state of Illinois.
The brands in questions were Marlboro Lights and Cambridge Lights.
The company said it will seek an immediate review of the decision, and the court stayed the entry of judgment for 30 days. Company spokesman David Tovar said Philip Morris has never paid a judgment in a smokers' lawsuit. The company has been sued frequently, and only lost five or six times, he said. All of those cases are currently under appeal, he added.
Friday's decision in the Miles case was the second legal defeat for Philip Morris in as many days. On Thursday, a state appeals court in San Francisco reaffirmed a $26.5 million judgment against Philip Morris and in favor of a former smoker now stricken with lung cancer. The company said it will appeal the San Francisco case to the California Supreme Court.