L.A. judge to rule Thursday on $3 bln tobacco suit
LOS ANGELES, Aug 6 (Reuters) - A California state judge on Monday said he would rule later this week on whether tobacco maker Philip Morris Cos. Inc. must pay a record $3 billion judgment issued against it in June.
Superior Court Judge Charles McCoy said he would issue a decision by the end of business on Thursday, after hearing more than three hours of oral arguments on whether the judgment should be voided, reduced or left in place.
In making a case for Philip Morris, attorney Kenneth Starr, the former independent counsel who investigated former President Clinton's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, called the court a ``13th juror'' that could weigh the facts in the case.
But Michael Puize, attorney for the plaintiff, cancer victim Richard Boeken, wasn't buying it. ``Did Philip Morris, get a fair trial in this courtroom, undoubtedly yes,'' Puize said.
The cigarette maker claimed the verdict should be no more than $25 million based on similar cases and that testimony from Boeken was tainted by past criminal convictions the Los Angeles County Superior Court jury was not allowed to hear about.