Big Tobacco Gets Smoked by DC Circuit
The DC Circuit Court of Appeals has largely affirmed a lower court ruling against the Big Tobacco companies which held that the companies violated fraud and racketeering laws by engaging in a decades-long deception about the dangers of smoking.
The court affirmed the district court's limitation on the marketing of light cigarettes, holding that labels such as "light" or "low tar" are impermissible since those cigarettes haven't been found to have any practical safety benefits over regular cigarettes.
The court also ordered the cigarette companies to issue what it called "corrective statements" concerning the ill effects and addictive nature of smoking and nicotine.
The court did refuse the government's request to, inter alia, force the cigarette companies to fund a $10 billion stop-smoking program, however, saying that federal law didn't empower the court to order such a remedy.
Anti-smoking groups called the decision a victory, but expressed disappointment at the court's refusal to allow additional remedies.
This case has been going on for 10 years now, and with billions of dollars on the line, it's unlikely to end here. A senior vice president for Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, stated that the case needed "further review."
Appeals Court Largely Upholds Ruling Vs Tobacco Cos (CNNMoney)
Appeals Court Upholds Landmark RICO Case Against Big Tobacco (The Blog of Legal Times)
Sweeping tobacco ruling headed for Court? (SCOTUSblog)