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Hospitals, tobacco spar over smoking costs



A standing-room-only crowd in the gallery, and more than two dozen jurors and alternates spilling from the jury box, packed a courtroom here Monday to hear opening statements in a trial that pits regional and local medical providers against Big Tobacco. The suit, filed in 1998, is the City of St. Louis v. American Tobacco. It pits 37 plaintiffs, mainly local and regional hospitals in Missouri, against 11 tobacco manufacturers. At issue is reimbursement dating to 1993 for treating the smoking-related illnesses of patients who had no insurance and did not pay their bills.
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