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Ill. court revives $10B verdict in cigarette case

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- An Illinois appellate court has reinstated a $10.1 billion verdict in a class-action lawsuit against Phillip Morris USA that found the cigarette-maker misled customers about "light" and "low tar" designations.

Philip Morris says it will challenge the ruling Tuesday by a three-judge panel of the Mount Vernon-based 5th District Appellate Court. The decision revives a 2003 verdict by a trial judge in Illinois' Madison County that found Philip Morris broke Illinois law by marketing "light" and "low tar" cigarettes as safer than other cigarettes.

The Illinois Supreme Court later threw out that verdict and the U.S. Supreme Court let that ruling stand. But a favorable 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision in an unrelated case spawned new appeals by plaintiffs in the Illinois case, leading to Tuesday's ruling.