Monday, June 28, 2010

A little sanity in the pursuit of Big Tobacco

A win for MO (Altria). Huge penalties avoided.This makes muni tobacco settlement bonds more secfure too.

U.S. Bid for Tobacco Company Damages Rejected by Supreme Court
2010-06-28 14:05:09.230 GMT

By Greg Stohr
June 28 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Justice Department’s bid for as much as $280 billion in tobacco company profits, refusing to hear an Obama administration appeal in the decade-old government suit against the industry.
The rebuff all but ensures that the racketeering suit first pressed by former President Bill Clinton’s administration won’t result in financial penalties against Altria Group Inc.’s Philip Morris USA and Reynolds American Inc.’s R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. It’s the second time the high court has refused to hear government arguments in the case.
The court also rejected a group of industry appeals aimed at overturning a trial judge’s finding that the cigarette makers defrauded the public about the dangers of smoking for more than 50 years.
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler’s ruling could open companies to continuing judicial oversight and impose more stringent limits on their business practices than the 2009 law that let the Food and Drug Administration regulate tobacco.

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--Editors: Jim Rubin, Laurie Asseo.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Greg Stohr in Washington at (1) (202) 624-1841 or

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Mark Silva at 1-202-654-4315 or

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