United States v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., 449 F. Supp. 2d 1 (D.D.C. 2006), aff'd United States and Tobacco Free Kids Action Fund v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., 566 F.3d 1095 (D.C. Cir. 2009)

Case Summary:

On behalf of the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, and National African American Tobacco Prevention Network, we successfully intervened in the federal government's long-running civil RICO action against the tobacco industry, United States v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 99-CV-2496 (GK), which alleged that the defendants engaged in a decades-long conspiracy to mislead the American public about the addictiveness and adverse health effects of cigarette smoke.

Judge Gladys Kessler granted our motion to intervene after the federal government announced, during its closing argument, that it would no longer ask for several remedies that it had developed through its own witnesses. As a result of this ruling, the groups became a party in the case and advocated the original remedies, including a $130 billion smoking cessation program, as well as specific restrictions on marketing tobacco products to children. In August, 2006, Judge Kessler issued a 1600 page opinion finding the tobacco companies liable for decades of deceptive practices concerning the addictiveness, and adverse public health impacts, of tobacco, and the targeting of young people to become replacement smokers. United States v. Philip Morris, 449 F. Supp 2d 1. The D.C. Circuit issued a comprehensive ruling affirming Judge Kessler's liability findings and remedies in all principal respects. See United States and Tobacco Free Kids Action Fund v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., 566 F.3d 1095 (D.C. Cir. 2009).

The U.S. Supreme Court subsequently denied petitions for certiorari filed by all the parties. See details here (link to section of Supreme Court website discussing this case).

On remand to the district court, the parties negotiated a landmark settlement concerning the tobacco companies' obligations to disclose their internal documents, providing millions of dollars to the University of California San Francisco to code these documents and provide enhanced search capabilities. Defendants' other efforts to vacate or weaken the remedial order were all rejected by the district court, and the D.C. Circuit.   Most recently, the district court issued a far-reaching ruling on the corrective statements remedy, see U.S. v. Philip Morris, 2012 WL 5928859 (D.D.C. Nov. 27, 2012), the implementation of which is presently being negotiated.


Intervenors: American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, National African American Tobacco Prevention Network, and Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund

Court: United States District Court for the District of Columbia