Philip Morris USA And Altria Will Seek Appellate Review Of Decision In DOJ Case
RICHMOND, VA (August 18, 2006) - Philip Morris USA and its parent company, Altria Group, Inc., will seek review of U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler’s ruling today that PM USA, Altria Group and the other cigarette companies violated civil provisions of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
The court refused to order the companies to pay $10 billion for a smoking cessation program or $4 billion for a “counter-marketing” youth advertising program sought by the government but found, among other things, the companies must remove descriptors such as “light” or “ultra light” from cigarette packages and publish statements concerning smoking and health issues.
“Philip Morris USA and Altria Group, Inc. believe much of today’s decision and order are not supported by the law or the evidence presented at trial, and appear to be Constitutionally impermissible or infringe on Congress’ sole right to provide for the regulation of tobacco products,” said William S. Ohlemeyer, Altria Group vice president and associate general counsel.
“Moreover, the conclusion that PM USA and Altria are reasonably likely to engage in future wrongdoing is flawed in light of the profound and permanent changes in the way cigarettes are marketed today, including requirements imposed by agreements with the state attorneys general and other voluntary and irrevocable changes made by our companies,” he said.
Ohlemeyer said the companies are studying the lengthy decision and will decide whether to first seek further review in the trial court or appeal directly to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
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