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RJR Nabisco et al. v. European Community et al. [United States] [June 20, 2016]

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that RJR Nabisco could not be sued under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act for its conduct abroad. The European Union (known as the European Community in this case) sued RJR Nabisco claiming that the company directed and managed a global smuggling and money-laundering scheme with organized crime groups in violation of the RICO law. In this decision, the Supreme Court ruled that certain elements of RICO can apply to conduct that occurs outside of the United States. However, the Court also found that a private entity— this case, a foreign government­—cannot sue under RICO in the United States unless it has suffered a domestic injury. Because the European Union had earlier waived its claims of a domestic injury, the Court was forced to dismiss the EU’s remaining claims. 

State of New York et. al v. United Parcel Service [United States] [September 16, 2015]

The court allowed a lawsuit to proceed against United Parcel Service (UPS) for allegedly delivering contraband untaxed cigarettes within the state of New York. The court dismissed two of the claims because UPS had an agreement in place with the New York Attorney General prohibiting them from delivering cigarettes to unauthorized recipients. However, the court found there was enough information for the other claims—based on violations of federal and state law—to continue. 

European Community v. RJR Nabisco, Inc. [United States] [April 13, 2015]

This case involves a claim against RJR Nabisco that the company directed and managed a global smuggling and money-laundering scheme with organized crime groups in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law. The court upheld an earlier decision finding that the RICO law could apply to actions that happen outside of the United States when the underlying laws that constitute racketeering explicitly apply to foreign activity. 

Oklahoma v. Native Wholesale Supply [United States] [June 10, 2014]

Native Wholesale Supply imported and distributed several hundred million cigarettes in the State without reporting them as required under State laws enacted as part of the Master Settlement Agreement. A lower court had awarded the state $47 million dollars, and the tobacco company was seeking a new trial.  Here the Supreme Court upheld the lower court's grant of summary judgment and denied the tobacco company a new trial. 

European Community v. RJR Nabisco, Inc. [United States] [April 23, 2014]

The European Union sued RJR Nabisco claiming that the company directed and managed a global smuggling and money-laundering scheme with organized crime groups in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law. In this decision, the court disagreed with a lower court and revived the case against RJR. The court ruled that RJR could be sued under the RICO law because (1) some of the underlying laws that were allegedly violated (e.g., money laundering) apply outside of the United States; and (2) violations of other laws (e.g., mail and wire fraud) occurred inside the United States. Additionally, the court ruled that the federal court has jurisdiction to hear the case because the European Union (known as the European Community in this lawsuit) qualifies as a foreign state.

Non-Smokers' Rights Association v. British American Tobacco [France] [September 12, 2013]

This is an appeal of a 2012 decision that found British American Tobacco (BAT) France guilty of violating the country’s advertising laws. The appeals court affirmed the earlier decision that BAT France and its president were guilty of civil and criminal violations for (1) distributing a poster to 28,000 retailers saying “false cigarette, true risk” with the BAT logo; and (2) publishing a document on the company’s website about a BAT France campaign to raise awareness of counterfeit tobacco cigarettes. The appeals court found that the campaigns had the effect of enhancing BAT’s image and encouraging the sale of tobacco products. The appeals court increased the amount of the fines imposed on BAT France and ruled that the NGO Non-Smokers’ Rights Association had proper standing to file the lawsuit.

ASA Adjudication on Gallaher Ltd. (A12-213116) [United Kingdom] [August 28, 2013]

Cancer Research UK made a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about an ad from Gallaher Ltd that opposed plain packaging for tobacco. The ad made two claims: (1) that 23.3% of cigarettes smoked in London have unpaid taxes and (2) that 19% of independent shopkeepers in London are considering closing as a result of the illegal tobacco trade. The ASA found that the second claim in the ad had not been substantiated and was misleading and ordered the company not to repeat it.

State ex rel. Edmondson v. Grand River Enterprises Six Nations, Ltd. [United States] [June 19, 2013]

The State accused a tobacco manufacturer, who had not participated in the Master Settlement Agreement, from accurately contributing to the escrow account, as required by law for such non-participating manufacturers.  The State claimed the manufacturer was selling more cigarettes within the state than the manufacturer had claimed.  The lower court ordered the tobacco manufacturer to contribute several million dollars, as owed for previous years. In this decision, the appeals court upholds the lower court's order.

ASA Adjudication on Gallaher Ltd. (A12-210929) [United Kingdom] [April 17, 2013]

This ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) sanctioned Japan Tobacco International (JTI) for misleading advertising for their campaign against plain packaging in the United Kingdom.  The Cancer Research UK, a public health organization, made a complaint about the advertisements of JTI.  The ads claimed that plain packaging of cigarettes would increase the “booming” illicit trade of tobacco and cost the government more than £3 Billion.  The ASA found that both of these claims were misleading and unrepresentative of the true facts.  The ASA ordered JTI and its subsidiary, Gallaher Ltd, to not run the ads again.

The Queen v. Ashok Kumar [Northern Ireland] [January 18, 2013]

A criminal defendant, who had been caught smuggling over 300,000 cigarettes, was found guilty by a jury of conspiring to evade customs duty and carrying dutiable goods with intent to defraud. In commenting upon the seriousness of the offences, the sentencing court referred to the FCTC provisions relating to the elimination of illicit trade in tobacco products. The defendant was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.

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