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Federal appeals court denies rehearing on $280 billion tobacco penalty

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said Wednesday that it will not reconsider its earlier decision [PDF opinion; JURIST report] barring the DOJ from seeking a $280 billion penalty in its racketeering lawsuit against tobacco companies. In February, the court ruled that the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act [text] permits the government to seek only forward-looking remedies and does not allow disgorgement penalties. The appeals court divided 3-3 on whether to grant the DOJ's request for a full court reconsideration of the panel decision, and Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum said Wednesday "In the wake of the tied vote ... the United States will carefully review its options and make a determination in the near future as to what course of action it will pursue." The DOJ provides background on the tobacco litigation, including case documents. AP has more.

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