The U.S. government and several tobacco companies have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a landmark ruling over the companies’ alleged concealment of the effects of smoking. The Obama administration has asked the Supreme Court to reverse an earlier ruling in a rackerteering case and allow damages of $280 billion in forfeited profits and $10 billion to fund anti-smoking campaigns in the United States. If the Supreme Court agrees to take the case, it could set new precedents for prosecutions under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
In May, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirmed a trial judge’s verdict against cigarette makers, finding they violated federal anti-racketeering laws by conspiring to lie about the dangers of smoking. Altria Group Inc’s Philip Morris USA unit and two co-defendants filed to overturn the verdict, while the government argues the appeals court wrongly denied the repayment of billions of dollars in ill-gotten gains by the tobacco industry.