PHILIP MORRIS AND RJ REYNOLDS DENY RICO FINDINGS.



Philip Morris USA is to seek review of Friday's appeals court ruling largely upholding a trial judge's decision in 2006 that Philip Morris USA, and other major US cigarette companies have violated civil provisions of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. "PM USA and Altria Group continue to believe that the court's conclusions are not supported by the law or the evidence presented at trial and these issues warrant further review," said Murray Garnick, Altria Client Services senior vice president and associate general counsel, speaking on behalf of PM USA and Altria. ‘The D.C. Circuit [US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia], however, rejected all of the government's and intervenor's cross appeal arguments and refused to broaden the remedial order entered by Judge Kessler,’ Altria said in a note published on its website. ‘The court left undisturbed its prior holding that the government could not obtain disgorgement as a permissible remedy under RICO.’ Meanwhile, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co said it was disappointed that the appeals court had affirmed many of the findings of the district court, particularly the finding that cigarette manufacturers violated federal racketeering laws.

“R.J. Reynolds strongly believes that neither the evidence presented at trial nor the legal standards justify a finding of liability,” said Martin L. Holton III, senior vice president and general counsel for R.J. Reynolds. “R.J. Reynolds is pleased, however, that the Court of Appeals reaffirmed that the disgorgement of profits is not an available remedy in this case,” Holton added. “We are also pleased that the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision not to require several of the remedies sought by the government, and ruled that some of the remedies the district court ordered were too broad.” R.J. Reynolds said it was considering its options, including seeking review by the US Supreme Court.