United States v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al.

In 1999, the United States filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the major cigarette manufacturers and related trade organizations alleging that defendants, while acting as an enterprise, fraudulently misled American consumers for decades about the risks and dangers of cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke in violation of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). In 2006, the court found that defendants violated RICO and that there was a reasonable likelihood that defendants would continue to violate RICO in the future. On appeal, the district court’s findings were upheld, in part, vacated, in part, and remanded, in part, to the district court. After the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals from both sides in the case in June 2010, the district court began to implement the 2006 final order.

This opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reviews the District Court’s rejection of the defendants challenge to the continued jurisdiction of the Court.  The defendants argued that the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act should take away the jurisdiction of the court because the Act contained similar subject matter as the case.  Here the appellate court affirms the lower court’s decision maintaining jurisdiction.  The appellate court agrees there is a reasonable likelihood of further RICO violations by the defendants and the lower court did not err in maintaining the jurisdiction of the court despite the passage of the Act.