October 18, 2005 Vancouver Sun

Big Tobacco wins round in U.S court

Supreme Court declines to inervene over question of $280-billion penalty.

Washington – The U.S Supreme Court refused Monday to allow the Bush administraiton to pursue a $280-billion penalty against tobacco companies on claims they misled the public about the dangers of smoking.

The decision, a major victory for cigarette makers, was not unexpected because the government’s case is still pending and the federal judge who presided over the nine-month trial has not yet decided whether tobacco companies are guilty of wrong-doing. The Supreme Court declined, without comment, to intervene.

The fight at the high court was over the amount of money the companies would have to pay if the judge rules that they violated a federal anti-racketeering law know as RICO