Saturday, March 29, 2003

Virginia tobacco commissioners worried over $10 billion Illinois judgment in smoker case

As reported here, Del. Terry Kilgore is suggesting that Philip Morris "might not be able to pay into the fund" of tobacco-settlement money, which is earmarked for a multitude of government projects in Virginia. The Virginia attorney general's office indicated that it may intervene in the Illinois case to seek the lowering of the bond for the cigarette maker's appeal. The Tobacco Commission website is located here.

The same story arose because Philip Morris (now Altria) reported on Friday it would be unable to make a tobacco settlement payment scheduled for April 15, because of the Illinois case, as reported here. The former governor of Illinois, now representing the company, was quoted here as saying that the appeal bond could bankrupt Philip Morris. The Illinois Attorney General said the bankruptcy talk is phony, as reported here.

Philip Morris could never be subjected to a multi-billion dollar punitive judgment in Virginia, where by this statute, punitives are limited to $350,000 for all the defendants in a case.

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