Results matching “tobacco rico”

Supreme Court roundup, July 2 - PointOfLaw Forum

The end of the term produced fireworks and fizzles.

Amicus brief in tobacco-RICO case - PointOfLaw Forum

The Washington Legal Foundation and National Association of Manufacturers have filed an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to review and overturn the D.C. Circuit decision holding that tobacco companies can be charged with racketeering for defending their products in public controversy. Earlier here and, at Overlawyered, here.

Around the web, July 14 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • "Organized Labor Concedes: Employer Violations Rare in Secret Ballot Elections" [James Sherk, Heritage Backgrounder] And before the Washington Post swallows claims of a pro-employer tilt in union-organizing election procedures, it should look at the facts more closely [Sherk, "Foundry" blog]
  • Kevin Funnell on "bankslaughter" proposals to criminalize more instances of bank mismanagement [Bank Lawyer's Blog]
  • "Texas tobacco lawyers now file class action in Arkansas over light cigarettes" [SE Texas Record]
  • Will state courts follow federal Twombly/Iqbal example and adopt meaningful pleading standards? [Day, Tennessee]
  • Even when your target is the state of New York and its longsuffering taxpayers, meritless litigation might eventually get you sanctioned [Wait a Second!, Gollomp v. Spitzer]
  • Sen. John Cornyn's 20 questions for Sonia Sotomayor [Senate via Adler] Nominee's extensive involvement with PRLDEF included challenges to public employment exams [DRJ at Patterico] "Voting booths in Sing Sing" a logical implication of her felon-franchise Hayden v. Pataki dissent? [Alt, NY Post, more] Trading odds on confirmation: 98.5 with 100 = certainty [MargRev]

Jacob Sullum, Bloomberg, the NLJ and the WSJ report on and discuss today's verdict.

Election miscellany - PointOfLaw Forum

  • Most surprising and dismaying news of the night for the reform cause: Justice Cliff Taylor's loss in Michigan, described by Carter below. No contemporary state jurist I can think of has accomplished more toward causes I admire, or will be missed more. I hadn't blogged much on this, assuming that Taylor was in no danger; his qualifications so outshone those of his Democratic challenger that even the Detroit Free Press, which was extremely hostile toward his judicial philosophy, had endorsed him. It's a sad day. Democrats ran a last-minute ad campaign accusing Taylor of sleeping on the bench, which he told the Detroit News "wasn't true, but it was a very compelling piece of political theater". You think those good-government groups that get upset about negative judicial campaigning are going to hop on this?
  • Mississippi Supreme Court justice Oliver Diaz, who twice won acquittal in the Paul Minor scandal, lost his seat as did two others on his court. Jake Adams at Mississippi Business Law Blog has much more as does YallPolitics. Democrats (and trial lawyer surrogates Texas Watch and Texans for Public Justice) failed to unseat any of the Republicans on the Texas Supreme Court despite a notably nasty campaign. Democrats captured two vacant high court seats in West Virginia.
  • Rep. Tom McClintock, notable California conservative in the House, is ahead by 451 votes (via) and Arizona's reform-oriented Rep. John Shadegg kept his seat.
  • Controversial San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre, a former plaintiff's class action attorney, lost his reelection bid [AmLaw Daily]
  • Democrats are expected to take control of the New York Senate, Delaware House and Ohio House, completing their control of those legislatures. In Washington state, incumbent Democratic governor Christine Gregoire, a favorite of plaintiff's-bar donors since her role in the 1998 state-tobacco settlement, won her rematch with Dino Rossi.
  • Legal reformers will be in a defensive crouch in Washington, D.C. as well as many other places for a while, notes MI's Jim Copland.

Watson v. Philip Morris - PointOfLaw Forum

Tobacco companies are facing a blizzard of illegitimate class actions and class certifications over light cigarettes in state court. One sympathizes with the tobacco companies being sued for labeling cigarettes' tar and nicotine content under the "Cambridge Method" given that the FTC threatened companies with suit were they to vary from that formulation, as well as with the defendants' desire to get out of state courts that misapply procedural rules for class certification. (Preventing such forum shopping was the rationale behind the Class Action Fairness Act, but the law was not retroactive.) But the tobacco companies have resorted to a, shall we say, aggressively creative interpretation of federal jurisdiction, and removed several suits to federal court under 28 U.S.C. � 1442(a)(1), a provision creating federal jurisdiction when federal officers were sued.

It's not a wildly crazy extension. For example, in Camacho v. Autoridad de Telefonos de Puerto Rico, 868 F.2d 482 (1st Cir. 1989), a court held there was � 1442(a)(1) federal jurisdiction over a lawsuit brought against a private telephone company that, at the behest of federal officers, assisted an allegedly illegal wiretapping. The Eighth Circuit bought into this use of the law in Watson v. Philip Morris, and plaintiffs sought a writ of certiorari, arguing that the FTC's regulation of cigarette advertising was not so extensive as to be acting at the behest of federal officers and thus did not merit � 1442(a)(1) jurisdiction.

Deepak Gupta reports that the Solicitor General, filing a brief at the request of the Court, has agreed with the petitioners that the Eighth Circuit is factually incorrect, but recommends against a grant of certiorari. Gupta finds this inconsistent, but a reading of the SG's brief shows that the distinction arises from the Supreme Court's decision to limit its workload by taking itself out of the business of mere "error correction" in cases where the lower court has not misstated the law but merely applied it incorrectly to the facts. One can find fault with the Supreme Court's policy in this regard, but not with the SG's application of it.

If the Supreme Court does decide to accept certiorari, it's fairly likely that this is a signal that it will reverse the Eighth Circuit. If so, class actions will be remanded to state courts in Arkansas, Missouri, and Minnesota, and the last two states have already joined Massachusetts as the only states to certify classes (though those rulings may not withstand appeals down the line—a second court in Minnesota refused to certify a class). A similar case in Madison County, Price v. Philip Morris, resulted in $10.1 billion in implausible damages and attorneys' fees being awarded before the Illinois Supreme Court intervened. Judge Weinstein's certification of a federal class is currently on appeal in the Second Circuit (Oct. 1 and links therein).

AP. We had covered the case Feb. 5, 2005 and Jul. 24; see also Overlawyered June 21, 2005 and links therein.

Update, 5:22 pm. A 1653-page ruling is tough going, but early indications are both sides are secretly unhappy while claiming to happy; the government didn't get the billions of dollars of damages it sought (though that vindicates the decision of government officials that it would be unreasonable to seek even more after the D.C. Circuit struck the disgorgement claim), but the tobacco industry is being ordered to make concessions about fraud that could cost it billions in future litigation.

Update, 7:15 AM. I'm surprised the after-hours market is resulting in a rise in the price of tobacco stocks. This is perhaps a result of the fact that no damages were awarded, but the requirement of admitting to fraud, if upheld, is going to cost the tobacco companies much more in the long term. There are still a number of "light" consumer fraud cases pending. Walter comments in much more detail at Overlawyered. WSJ, NY Times, WaPo, and the LA Times all have coverage.

No en banc review for DOJ tobacco RICO theory - PointOfLaw Forum

The D.C. Circuit's decision (Feb. 5) throwing out the federal government's RICO damage claims against the tobacco industry will not be subject to en banc review after a 3-3 vote from the judges on the D.C. Circuit. (AP, Apr. 21).

DOJ dealt a big loss in tobacco case - PointOfLaw Forum

Yesterday a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected the U.S. Government's RICO-based theory of recovery in its lawsuit against cigarette manufacturers. The majority opinion (PDF file here), written by Judge David Sentelle, explains that

The relevant section of RICO, 18 U.S.C. 1964(a), provides the Disctrict Courts jurisdiction only for forward-looking remedies that prevent and restrain violations of the Act. Because disgorgement, a remedy aimed at past violations, does not so prevent or restrain, we reverse the decision below and grant partial summary judgment for the Appellants.

Judge Stephen Williams wrote a separate concurrence; Judge David Tatel dissented.

Assuming it survives en banc review, of course, the ruling will, as pointed out by the New York Times, eliminate

the government's biggest potential financial threat to the tobacco industry from the case. That is the government's calculation of $280 billion in profits it estimates that the industry garnered from cigarettes smoked from 1971 to 2000. Lawyers for the tobacco companies had contended that being forced to disgorge so great a sum could have driven some companies into bankruptcy.

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