Judge Says Big Tobacco Is Blowing Smoke

     WASHINGTON (CN) – Philip Morris and a pack of other Big Tobacco companies lost another battle in their legal war with the U.S. government when a federal judge denied the companies’ motion to clarify an order to stop violating provisions of the RICO Act.

     “Defendants do not seek clarification of any language in the Court’s Order. Rather, they ask the Court to issue advisory determinations on complex issues affecting the jurisdiction of federal and state courts based on legal arguments raised neither at the remedial phase of the litigation nor in any concrete context,” U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler wrote.
     The same Federal Court found in 2006 that Big Tobacco companies, including R.J. Reynolds and Brown & Williamson, conspired to violate substantive provisions of RICO.
     “In particular, the Court held that defendants ‘knowingly and intentionally engaged in a scheme to defraud smokers and potential smokers, for purposes of financial gain, by making false and fraudulent statements, representations, and promises,'” Judge Kessler wrote, summing up the early history of the case.
     The tobacco companies “presented a litany of other arguments for clarifying, limiting, reformulating, or entirely vacating” the court’s decision issue injunctive relief against them. But Judge Kessler denied the motion to clarify.

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