The St. Louis Post Dispatch talks about the new court house that is opening in Madison County today. This is the infamous county of massive awards for class action suits called the worst judicial hell-hole in the nation. President Bush gave a talk in the land of big law suits earlier this year. Here is what today’s PD article said:
Philip Morris money started flowing into the county’s coffers after Circuit Judge Nicholas G. Byron ruled against Philip Morris two years ago. The suit alleged the company had misled Illinois smokers about the dangers of light cigarettes. The class in the case was the more than 1 million Illinois residents who bought Marlboro Lights and Cambridge Lights.
When Philip Morris appealed the decision, the firm was required to set aside a bond, a common procedure when lawsuits are appealed. That bond – $1.4 billion – is sitting in an escrow account.
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The Illinois Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case in 60 to 90 days, said a lawyer representing Philip Morris. The county, however, gets to keep the interest regardless of the outcome.
Just last week, the county used $1.7 million of the interest to pay off a loan from UMB Bank for the criminal courts center. Because the county paid off the loan five years early, it saved $200,000 in interest payments, county officials said.
The county has about $1.4 million remaining in its coffers from interest generated by the bond.