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Court leaves ruling against big tobacco intact

  Court Watch  -   POSTED: 2012/07/27 17:24

A federal appeals court on Friday left intact a court judgment that ordered tobacco companies to do corrective advertising about the dangers of smoking.

The companies sought to overturn a federal judge's order on grounds that the order had been superceded by a 2009 law that gave the Food and Drug Administration authority over the industry, including power to require graphic cigarette warnings.

In court filings, the companies — including Philip Morris USA, the nation's largest tobacco maker — say that the 2009 Tobacco Control Act eliminated any reasonable likelihood that the companies would commit future violations, thus making the need for remedies like corrective statements moot.

In a 3-0 decision, the appeals court said the regulatory oversight provided by the 2009 Tobacco Control Act is not a replacement for the judge's ruling on corrective advertising.

The appeals court supported a lower court decision by U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler that if the companies were not deterred by the possibility of court-imposed action, they were not likely to be deterred by the 2009 Tobacco Control Act either.

In 2006, Kessler ruled that America's largest cigarette makers concealed the dangers of smoking for decades, in a civil case the federal government brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law, or RICO.

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