If you are in Washington DC, be sure to head over to the US Cort of Appeals for the District Circuit, 333 Constitutional Avenue, NW, Washington DC, this Tuesday 14th October, 9:30 am and follow proceedings of the landmark tobacco ‘racketeering’ case– USA v Philip Morris USA Inc 06-5267
The tobacco companies are appealing the 2006 district court ruling which held that cigarette companies violated civil racketeering laws by deceiving people about the dangers of tobacco. The companies claim the ruling was not supported by law and that the U.S. government never proved that anyone at the cigarette makers intended to defraud the public about the dangers of smoking.
The US government, on the other hand, is appealing the remedies in the 2006 ruling that gave the tobacco companies insignificant remedies despite labeling the tobacco companies as racketeers. The government says that the equitable remedies proposed by government (the companies to fund public education and smoking cessation) are forward looking and are authorized under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
Another issue that may come up is that of light and low- tar cigarettes and whether these descriptors are authorised by Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Tobacco companies have continued to market light and low tar cigarettes because a October 2006 a Washington-based federal appeals court stayed parts of the ruling against the tobacco industry while the case is on appeal.