Ruling on $280B RICO claim against tobacco industry [DC Circuit]

USA v. Philip Morris, US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, February 4, 2005 [ruling that federal law does not permit the goverment to seek a $280 billion penalty in its racketeering case against the tobacco industry]. Excerpt:

A group of cigarette manufacturers and related entities ("Appellants") appeal from a decision of the District Court denying summary judgment as to the Government's claim for disgorgement under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO" or "the Act"), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-68. The relevant section of RICO, 18 U.S.C. § 1964(a), provides the District 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.
Read the full text of the opinion [PDF]. Reported in JURIST's Paper Chase here.

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