LANGUAGE

United States v. Philip Morris USA

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 by the District Court specifies language the tobacco companies must publish to correct previous false and misleading conduct by the tobacco companies.  The court announces five subject headings each with specific corrective statements. After describing the required language the court provides a detailed legal analysis of the First Amendment grounds supporting the requirements.  The court then dismisses other alternative challenges brought by the tobacco companies.