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Smith v. Philip Morris Companies [United States] [July 18, 2014]
A class action lawsuit against major tobacco companies argued that the companies fixed prices following “Marlboro Friday,” a day in 1993 in which a Philip Morris retail promotion lowered the price of Marlboros by approximately 20 percent. The class action represented Kansas purchasers of cigarettes who alleged that the tobacco companies conspired to fix the wholesale price of cigarettes in violation of state law. The court ruled that the class had failed to provide evidence proving price fixing and affirmed an earlier judgment in favor of the tobacco companies. In particular, the court found that the class failed to provide evidence that the tobacco companies were actively colluding with each other and not acting independently in changing prices.
National Association of Tobacco Outlets v. City of New York [United States] [June 18, 2014]
Tobacco companies and retailers sued New York City challenging an ordinance that prohibits the sale of tobacco below the stated price, such as through coupons or two-for-one offers. The court upheld the ordinance, ruling that it does not violate the tobacco companies’ or retailers’ free speech rights under the First Amendment and that it is not preempted by state or federal law. The court found that ordinance does not violate the First Amendment because it regulates an economic transaction – the sale of tobacco products below the listed price – not speech. Additionally, the ordinance is not preempted by the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act because it is a lawful restriction on the manner in which tobacco manufacturers and retailers advertise and promote their products and it does not regulate the content of cigarette advertising related to health warnings. Finally, the New York City ordinance is not preempted by state law because the state law relates only to the distribution of free tobacco products, not partially discounted tobacco products.
Customs vs. X [company importing and distributing tobacco products] [Netherlands] [March 13, 2014]
Information about this decision coming soon.
Safa Enterprises Inc. v. Imperial Tobacco Company Limited [Canada] [December 09, 2013]
The owner of a convenience store brought an action against Imperial Tobacco Company for violation of Canada’s pricing laws. The convenience store was not allowed to participate in Imperial’s preferred pricing program. However, a competing convenience store was part of the program, which allowed the competing store to sell cigarettes at a lower price. The Competition Tribunal dismissed the case, finding that the convenience store bringing the action was unable to prove that Imperial’s alleged discrimination (by not allowing the store to participate in the pricing program) was because of the store’s low prices.
Philip Morris USA v. Vilsack [United States] [November 20, 2013]
Philip Morris challenged the Department of Agriculture's decision to use tax rates from 2003 instead of current tax rates. In this decision, the court concluded that the decision was a permissible interpretation of the statute. Nothing from the text of the statute or in Congress's actions indicated that the Department intended otherwise, or that the Department's interpretation was unreasonable. The court affirmed the district court's grant of the Department's motion for summary judgment.
National Association of Tobacco Outlets, Inc. et al v. City of Providence, Rhode Island, et al [United States] [September 30, 2013]
Tobacco companies sued the City of Providence, Rhode Island challenging two different local ordinances: (1) restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products (other than cigarettes) except in a smoking bar; and (2) prohibiting retailers from accepting or redeeming coupons and certain multipack discounts (e.g., buy two, get one free). The Appeals Court upheld the lower court’s decision and found that both ordinances are legal. The “Flavor Ordinance” is not preempted by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The “Price Ordinance” does not violate the First Amendment and is not preempted by the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act. Additionally, neither ordinance is preempted by Rhode Island state law.
Customs vs. X [company importing and distributing tobacco products] [Netherlands] [September 20, 2013]
Information about this decision coming soon.
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.
Phillip Morris USA v. Vilsack [United States] [October 09, 2012]
Tobacco manufacturers and importers challenged the methodology in which the Food and Drug Administration calculated taxes under the Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform Act (FETRA). Both parties sought summary judgment. The court upheld the FDA's method of levying taxes because it was not arbitrary nor unreasonable.