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    Post: Supreme Ct Rejects Big Tobacco~Fraud in Marketing

    Posted by Sharon on 7/15/10

    “Supreme Court rejects appeals of tobacco ruling”

    New York Times (06/28/2010) Duff Wilson

    The milestone racketeering verdict against cigarette
    companies will not be reviewed by the United States Supreme
    Court, according to a decision to deny a writ of certiorari
    which was issued without comment June 28, 2010.

    The decision appealed by both sides of the suit, tobacco
    companies and the U.S. Department of Justice, was ordered
    in 2006 by United States District Court for the District of
    Columbia Judge Gladys Kessler. In appealing to the Supreme
    Court, the last option available for the case, tobacco
    companies sought to overturn a civil racketeering judgment
    on free speech grounds. Conversely, the federal government
    appealed to force tobacco companies to return up to $280
    billion in profits from advertising campaigns which were
    judged to be untruthful about the health risks associated
    with smoking.

    The decision comes as a relief to tobacco investors,
    according to Thilo Wrede, an industry analyst for Credit
    Suisse; “If the decision would have been the other way, you
    would have seen a headline saying a $280 billion case is
    open again.”

    Antismoking advocates’ reactions to the denial are mixed,
    says Edward L. Sweda, a senior lawyer with the Tobacco
    Products Liability Project. “Obviously we’re disappointed,
    because we would have liked to force the companies to
    disgorge their ill-gotten gains… but we’re delighted with
    the upholding of the judge’s basic finding that the major
    tobacco companies are in fact adjudicated racketeers. Now
    that is established historical fact.”

    While portions of Judge Kessler’s 2006 ruling have been
    subsequently imposed through federal legislation, the case
    will now return to her court in order to discern remedies
    other than disgorgement, such as possible corrective

    [Editor’s Note: The appealed decision is United States v.
    Philip Morris USA, Inc., 449 F. Supp. 2d 1 (D.D.C. 2006)
    and is available at

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