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Health Groups Ask Supreme Court to Authorize Financial Penalties on Tobacco Companies for Decades of Wrongdoing
Date:2/19/2010

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The request for the high court to consider the case stems from a landmark ruling in 2006 in which the cigarette manufacturers were found guilty of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).  In that ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler found that major cigarette manufacturers had violated civil racketeering laws, defrauded the American people by lying for decades about the health risks of smoking and aggressively marketed their deadly products to children.

However, Judge Kessler ruled that the penalties she could impose on the tobacco companies were limited by a controversial appeals court ruling that restricted the remedies she could impose under the civil RICO law. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously upheld Judge Kessler's ruling on May 22, 2009.  The six public health groups are now asking the Supreme Court to overturn that part of the decision that restricted the penalties she could order.

The petition was filed by the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Americans for
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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