U.S. Plans Massive Tobacco Civil Suit

The United States Justice Department filed a multi-billion dollar civil lawsuit against the tobacco industry on September 22, 1999. Their effort seeks to recoup money spent on health care for smoking-related illnesses. The lawsuit also hopes to force the industry to finance smoking education and cessation programs. TobaccoFreedom.org will maintain a comprehensive gallery of news and information related to this landmark decision.

The Washington Post
Wednesday, 9/22/99, Page A01
by David A. Vise and Lorraine Adams

The Justice Department plans to file a mammoth civil lawsuit against the major tobacco companies as early as today, alleging that cigarette smoking costs the federal government billions of dollars annually in health-related expenses and seeking to recover those funds on behalf of taxpayers, sources familiar with the matter said yesterday.

The government contends that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer and other diseases that have resulted in an estimated $25 billion annually in health claims paid to veterans, military personnel, federal employees, the elderly through Medicare payments and others. The lawsuit includes claims that tobacco companies engaged in consumer fraud by conspiring to conceal the risks of cigarette smoking. In its allegations of industry collusion, the government plans to invoke the powerful federal civil racketeering statute, sources said.

The lawsuit represents a new legal challenge at a time when the tobacco industry seems to have beaten back the most aggressive assault by states and the federal government in its history. In the last two years, cigarette makers have settled lawsuits by about 40 state governments, appeared to have evaded federal criminal charges against company executives and forestalled broad regulation that had been proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.

Business Interest Groups Wary of U.S. Tobacco Suit
  The Washington Post, 9/23/99
DOJ Suit Viewed As A Political Issue
  The Washington Post, 9/23/99
RICO Potent Government Weapon In Federal Tobacco Lawsuit
  Bloomberg News, (9/22/99)
George W. Bush Questions Federal Tobacco Lawsuit
  Reuters, (9/23/99)
NEW YORK TIMES Supports Federal Lawsuit
  New York Times, (9/23/99)
USA TODAY Debates DOJ Lawsuit
  USA Today, (9/23/99)
Bork Op-Ed Calls Justice Department Lawsuit Fraudulent
A Behind-The-Scenes Look At The Justice Lawsuit
Justice Lawsuit Could Last Years, Says Philip Morris Lawyer
  Reuters, (9/24/99)
Attorney General Reno Urges Congress To Fund Lawsuit
  USA Today, (9/24/99)
WASHINGTON POST Supports Federal Suit
  The Washington Post, 9/24/99
Op-Ed Says Government Has "Selective Memory"
  New York Times, (9/24/99)

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