LANGUAGE

Allegheny General Hospital, et al. v. Philip Morris, Inc., et al.

Plaintiffs, 16 non-profit hospitals tasked under Pennsylvania law with caring for Medicaid and other indigent patients, brought suit against tobacco companies to recover costs, alleging that the defendants had violated Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) when they engaged in a conspiracy lasting more than 40 years to manipulate the nicotine content in cigarettes and other tobacco products. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendants deceived and misled the public about the addictive properties of nicotine and the health risks of smoking. As a result, many people used tobacco and developed lung cancer and other tobacco-related illnesses. The Court held that the hospitals lacked quasi-governmental standing; standing to assert antitrust claims; standing to assert RICO claims; proximate cause - required to support fraudulent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, negligent misrepresentation and omission, and special duty claims; aiding and abetting; and civil conspiracy claims .  The Court also found that the plaintiffs failed to state a claim of public nuisance, that tobacco companies were not unjustly enriched, and that action for indemnity was unavailable.