US Court Overturns $10bn Philip Morris Verdict

16 December 2005

US tobacco giant Philip Morris has won a major legal victory after the Illinois Supreme Court overturned a $10.1 billion (€8.4bn; £5.7bn) lower court ruling that the company had misled smokers about the health risk of its 'light' cigarettes.

The court said Philip Morris, part of the Altria Group did not violate the law because its marketing of Marlboro and Cambridge cigarettes using the term 'light' had the blessing of the Federal Trade Commission.

The original decision in 2003 said the company had "intended to deceive consumers" that the cigarettes were somehow less harmful than regular cigarettes.

The company commented: "Philip Morris USA is gratified by today's Illinois Supreme Court decision in the ... case. The company will have no further comment on today's decision."

Data sourced from Adweek (USA); additional content by WARC staff