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Tobacco Ruling

Tobacco Ruling

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Published by maustermuhle
Tobacco Ruling
Tobacco Ruling

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Published by: maustermuhle on Nov 27, 2012
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,::Plaintiff,::Civil Action No.v.:99-2496 (GK):PHILIP MORRIS USA, INC.,:et al.::Defendants.: MEMORANDUM OPINION
Back in 2006, the Court issued its Final Judgment and RemedialOrder #1015 [Dkt. No. 5733], mandating that Defendants publishcorrective statements on each of five topics on which the Courtfound they had made false and deceptive statements. These topicsare: “(a) the adverse health effects of smoking; (b) theaddictiveness of smoking and nicotine; (c) the lack of anysignificant health benefit from smoking ‘low tar,’ ‘light,’ ‘ultralight,’ ‘mild,’ and ‘natural,’ cigarettes; (d) Defendants'manipulation of cigarette design and composition to ensure optimumnicotine delivery; and (e) the adverse health effects of exposureto secondhand smoke.” United States v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., 449F. Supp. 2d 1, 938-39 (D.D.C. 2006) (“Original Opinion”). Uponconsideration of the briefs, the oral argument, and the entirerecord herein, the Court herein finalizes the text of thecorrective messages to be published. See infra Section II.A-E.
 
I.Backgroun
On September 22, 1999, the United States filed this civil suitagainst Defendants pursuant to the Racketeer Influenced and CorruptOrganizations Act (“RICO”), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-1968. After nearlyfive years of discovery, motions, and other pretrial proceedings,trial began in September 2004. The bench trial lasted nine monthsand on August 17, 2006, this Court issued a lengthy opinion findingthat all Defendants “(1) have conspired together to violate thesubstantive provisions of RICO, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d),and (2) have in fact violated those provisions of the statute,pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c).” Original Opinion, 449 F. Supp. 2dat 26. In particular, the Court concluded that Defendants“knowingly and intentionally engaged in a scheme to defraud smokersand potential smokers, for purposes of financial gain, by makingfalse and fraudulent statements, representations, and promises.”Id. at 852.
 A.Factual Findings
The Court made detailed Findings of Fact on each of thevarious topics on which Defendants made their false, deceptive, andmisleading public statements. Id. at 146-839. First, the Courtfound that “each and every one of these Defendants repeatedly,consistently, vigorously - and falsely - denied the existence ofany adverse health effects from smoking,” despite “the massivedocumentation in their internal corporate files from their own-2-
 
scientists, executives, and public relations people” that confirmedthat there was little evidence supporting their claims. Id. at 208.Specifically, Defendants “knew there was a consensus in thescientific community that smoking caused lung cancer and otherdiseases” by at least January 1964. Id. at 180. Despite thisinternal knowledge, the Defendants embarked on a “campaign ofproactive and reactive responses to scientific evidence that wasdesigned to mislead the public about the health consequences ofsmoking.” Id. at 187-88.Second, the Court found that Defendants “have publicly deniedand distorted the truth as to the addictive nature of theirproducts for several decades.” Id. at 209. Defendants “knew andinternally acknowledged that nicotine is an addictive drug,” id. at218, but “publicly made false and misleading denials of theaddictiveness of smoking, as well as nicotine’s role in causingthat addiction.” Id. at 271. The Court found that this conduct wascontinuing, observing that “no Defendant accepts the SurgeonGeneral’s definition of addiction, no Defendant admits thatnicotine is the drug delivered by cigarettes that creates andsustains addiction, and no Defendant acknowledges that the reasonquitting smoking is so difficult, and not simply a function ofindividual will power, is because of its addictive nature.” Id. at286.-3-

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