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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

$12Bln Philip Morris Fine Stays

NEW YORK -- An Illinois state judge issued an order Friday again requiring Philip Morris USA to post a $12 billion bond while it appeals a judgment in a smoking-related case, increasing the financial uncertainty hovering over the tobacco company.

The ruling by Judge Nicholas Byron of Madison County Circuit Court was not unexpected because it followed an appellate court decision in July that held that Byron had erred when he had earlier cut the size of the appeal bond in half and allowed it to be secured with a note rather than cash.

Friday's ruling gives Philip Morris, the nation's biggest cigarette maker, 60 days to pay. But Philip Morris has already moved to stay the order while it makes an appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.

John Mulderig, a lawyer for Philip Morris' parent company, the Altria Group, said the company would seek to have the Illinois Supreme Court uphold the judge's earlier order.

"This is the issue that we want the Supreme Court to consider," Mulderig said.

In trading Friday, which was unusually light as Wall Street struggled with the after-effects of the blackout, shares of Altria ended unchanged at $39.85. Since reaching a high of $52 nearly a year ago, the shares have fallen 23 percent.