The US Supreme Court yesterday upheld last year’s Illinois Supreme Court ruling throwing out the massive $10.1 billion judgment against Philip Morris in a class-action lawsuit involving cigarettes sold as ‘light’. The class-action lawsuit claimed Philip Morris knew when it introduced the ‘light’ cigarettes in 1971 that they were no healthier than regular cigarettes. However, the company hid that information and claimed that Philip Morris knew but also hid the fact that so-called ‘light’ cigarettes in fact contained more toxic forms of tar. The lawsuit involved 1.1 million people who bought the cigarettes since their launch. Three years back in 2003, a Madison Country judge ruled that the company knowingly misled the smokers into believing that they were buying less harmful cigarettes with the ‘light’ branding. On appeal the state high court overturned that ruling reasoning Federal Trade Commission allowed companies to characterize their cigarettes as ‘light’ and ‘low tar’. Therefore, under state law cigarette makers could not be held liable even if the terms it used could be found misleading. On this, Ed Murnane, the Illinois Civil Justice League’s president said, This closes a chapter on one of the sorry situations that came out of Madison County. The book is back on the shelf, almost like (the lawsuit) never happened. At last, Philip Morris can take a breather and relax lighting one up.