Monday, February 22, 2010
Tobacco giant Philip Morris USA, a division of Altria Group (MO), on Friday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out the landmark ruling saying the cigarette industry misled the public about the dangers of smoking. Hours later, the Obama administration asked the court to allow it access to nearly $300 billion in what it calls ill-gotten profits from the industry. The dueling filings are the latest chapter in an epic legal fight that has gone on for more than a decade.
In its filing, Philip Morris asked the court to overturn a massive racketeering verdict that forced the company to change its practices and increase its warnings about the dangers of smoking. Philip Morris argued that, in addition to letting the U.S. "pervert" the racketeering statute, known as RICO, the courts had violated its First Amendment rights.
Managing Senior Fellow & Senior Program Officer, Partnership for Prevention