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Supreme Court refuses to hear tobacco case appeal

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 5, 2010

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The U.S. Supreme Court on June 28 declined to hear the tobacco industry's appeal of a 2006 ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that cigarette manufacturers violated federal racketeering law by conspiring to deceive the public about the dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke.

The denial clears the way for the decision by U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler to be enforced, including requirements that tobacco companies explain the harmful effects of smoking and their illegal practices in newspaper and television ads and through modified cigarette packaging.

However, the Supreme Court's announcement also means that hundreds of billions in damages once sought by the Dept. of Justice in the case will not be awarded. Judge Kessler decided that her power to award the money was curtailed by another court's ruling limiting damages in civil racketeering cases, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The original lawsuit was filed by the Clinton administration in 1999.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2010/07/05/gvbf0705.htm.

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