The decade-old class action on labeling of cigarettes continues to smolder, as lawyers on both sides of the struggle of document files that Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth asked at month’s hearing.
Following the lengthy Aug. 21 hearing over a motion relief from almost seven years of dismissing the $ 10.1 billion verdict, Ruth said, legal teams for the plaintiffs and Philip Morris, to pass any additional information that could be used in helping him reach a decide.
Lawyers for Philip Morris, who was accused of misleading customers through the use of “light” and “low-tar” cigarettes label back in 2000, filed a proposed answer to the petition on August 23.
St. Louis attorney Stephen Tillery, who represents the plaintiffs, argued at a hearing last month that Philip Morris, admitted to the facts set out in his 2008 petition seeking help, not make a formal response.
The divergence on this issue led Ruth to provide oral motion Philip Morris “for leave to proposed answer. He told the hearing that because he was going to let the tobacco company submits an application to file this answer does not mean that he will provide it.
On August 31, Tillery filed a letter Ruth and Philip Morris filed after the hearing to present additional reference record, according to the documents provided by Philip Morris. Lawyers for Philip Morris also filed a letter to Ruth this week.
The recent filings focus on standards that apply to section 10b (1) Illinois Consumer Fraud and federal law preemptive conflict.
Plaintiffs ’2000 class lawsuit against Philip Morris is believed to be the nation’s first consumer fraud lawsuit against the tobacco companies.
In 2005, a decision that went to overturn $ 10.1 million verdict, now retired Judge Nicholas Byron awarded plaintiffs in 2003, most of the Illinois Supreme Court determined that Philip Morris can not be held liable for consumer fraud law states the use of “light” and “low-tar” labels, because the Federal Trade Commission allowed them.
Request for release from a sentence of dismissal, however, claims that the majority of the high court relied on the “actually inaccurate” information to reach a decision.
Tillery argues that the statements made by the FTC after the state high court ruling in value against Philip Morris, as well as the 2008 U.S. Supreme Court opinion in the well against Altria Group, are “newly discovered evidence” that warrants relief.
FTC was released in 2008 to say that he does not have a formal policy allows “light” and “low tar”, labeling statements that Tillery says contradicts the witness’s testimony in court in 2003 that he did.
In his letter, August 31 Ruth, Tillery wrote that Philip Morris “argues strongly” that the standards that apply to the act of state consumer fraud and federal issue rely predominantly in the 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision in a good different, and as such, provide facts admitted by the plaintiffs does not matter.
George Lombardi, an attorney in Chicago, who made the case for Philip Morris in the last month, said Ruth at the hearing, which is good ruling Tillery raised in his 2008 petition is not newly discovered evidence, and would not affect the outcome.
He told Ruth that the court in a well used the same evidence about the history of the FTC that the Illinois Supreme Court used in value against Philip Morris. The difference, Lombardi said that the two courts to apply different legal standards for their own decisions.
Lombardi said that the Court is well focused on the issue in the context of the federal interruption advertising of cigarettes while prices of the court looked to the labeling issue in the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act and, therefore, does not apply.
Because the Supreme Court issued its decision in accordance with the law of the state consumer fraud, it did not address the issue of federal preemption.
Tillery Ruth said in his letter that Philip Morris recently stated that the standard to call the federal conflict of displacement is more stringent than the standards in accordance with the Consumer Fraud Act and state that “Section 10b (1) is met through” informal expressions of ministry. “
In arguments before the Supreme Court, however, Tillery argues that Philip Morris “did not have the same type of interrupt conflict, in fact, if it could be made of the informal rulemaking and policy statement.”
Although he claims that Philip Morris “considered section 10b (1) and requests an interrupt conflict, to be the same” in your resume to the Supreme Court, Tillery said the company is now the opposite.
“There was no change in the law that would explain this shift on the part of Philip Morris”, “Tillery wrote.
Tillery wrote in his letter to Ruth, it’s clear that Philip Morris “a sudden recognition of the huge differences” between the section 10b (1) and the conflict trap “has been achieved, for tactical reasons.”
He added that “at no point in the beginning of the court did Philip Morris address these differences, and there is nothing new in the law to offer standard or the facts differ in any way.”
In the September 5 letter to Ruth on behalf of Philip Morris, Edwardsville attorney Larry Hepler wrote that the tobacco companies never took the position that the legal tests for exemption in accordance with section 10b (1) and Federal repression was the same.
“However,” Hepler wrote, it is true that Philip Morris’ current view of the legal test for the implied displacement differs from the arguments made earlier in the price. “
The difference, however, is not a strategic change positions, but rather due to the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has since rejected their opinion and adopted a more stringent legal standard than Philip Morris sought in the well, Hepler wrote.
A spokesman for Altria Client Services said Thursday he was unaware of any hearing dates being set in the case.