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Illinois Supreme Court Wipes Out $10.1 Billion Judgment Against Philip Morris, Again

Larry Hepler and Beth Bauer received a decision from the Illinois Supreme Court vacating lower court orders that reinstated a $10.1 billion judgment against Philip Morris.  In 2003, a Madison County, Illinois, judge entered the judgment against the cigarette manufacturer in a lights cigarette class action.  On appeal from the trial, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the judgment and directed the circuit court to dismiss the case with prejudice.  Later, plaintiffs filed a petition under 735 ILCS 5/2-1401 to re-open the judgement, citing new evidence.  The Illinois Appellate Court, Fifth District, granted plaintiffs’ petition, directing the circuit court to reinstate the $10.1 billion judgment.  Now, the Illinois Supreme Court holds that section 2-1401 does not authorize a circuit court to vacate the judgment of a reviewing court and dismisses the cause of action.  Larry and Beth have the pleasure of working with counsel from Mayer Brown, Arnold & Porter, Forde Law Offices, and Winston & Strawn on this matter.


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