Illinois court denies rehearing in Philip Morris case

The court ruled 4-2 in December that the verdict handed down by a Madison County court was invalid and ordered the lower court to dismiss the case. The court said Philip Morris, a unit of Altria Group Inc., did not improperly mislead customers about the health impacts of its cigarettes.

The court did not comment on why it refused to reconsider the case, but two justices strongly disagreed.

Justices Charles Freeman and Thomas Kilbride said the rest of the court overlooked or misunderstood significant questions raised by plaintiffs seeking reconsideration.

They said the court seemed more concerned with ending the case than making the most informed decision, the AP reports.

"The court's denial of the petition for rehearing does not speak well of the court," Freeman wrote in a 14-page dissent. "It is disappointing, and will ultimately prove to be embarrassing. History will be the judge."

Shares of New York-based Altria Group rose 35 cents to $74 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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