Timeline: United States v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al.

Post-Trial and Remedies

Nov. 21, 2018
Deadline for tobacco companies to begin running corrective statements on cigarette packs.

June 18, 2018
Deadline for tobacco companies to begin running corrective statements on their websites.

May 1, 2018
Judge Friedman signs consent order containing implementation details for publishing corrective statements on tobacco company websites and cigarette packs.

Nov. 26, 2017
Corrective statement advertisements start in newspapers and on television.

Oct. 5, 2017
Judge Friedman signs consent order containing implementation details for making the corrective statements through court-ordered television and newspaper advertisements (read the final text of the corrective statements). Negotiations continue on implementing the corrective statements on tobacco companies’ websites and cigarette pack onserts.

Aug. 29, 2017
Judge Kessler retires and case is reassigned to Judge Paul Friedman.

April 25, 2017
U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issues ruling on another appeal of the corrective statements language by the tobacco companies, again upholding most of the language but deleting use of the phrase “Here is the truth,” to which the tobacco companies had objected.

May 22, 2015
U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issues ruling upholding most of Judge Kessler’s order on implementing the corrective statements. But the court rejected a preamble sentence that a federal court had ruled the tobacco companies “deliberately deceived the American public,” ruling it was not permissible under the scope of the RICO law.

June 2, 2014
Judge Kessler issues order detailing how tobacco companies must publish corrective statements through television and newspaper advertising, on the companies’ web sites and on cigarette packaging. Tobacco companies subsequently appeal the specific language of the corrective statements.

Nov. 27, 2012
Judge Kessler issues order with the specific text of the corrective statements. Read her order and opinion.

July 27, 2012
U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejects tobacco companies’ appeal to vacate remedies.

June 28, 2010
U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear appeals in the case, allowing Judge Kessler's judgment and the remedies upheld by the Court of Appeals to stand.

Feb 19, 2010
The government and public health intervenors appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to allow the disgorgement of past tobacco industry profits and funding of tobacco prevention and cessation programs as remedies in the case. The tobacco company defendants also appeal, asking the Supreme Court to overturn both the finding of liability and remedies imposed.

May 22, 2009
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit issues its unanimous opinion upholding Judge Kessler's finding of liability and almost all of Judge Kessler's remedies, but denying additional remedies sought by public health intervenors and the Department of Justice.

March 16, 2007
Judge Kessler denies motion by tobacco company defendants to continue to use deceptive terms such as "light" and "low-tar" in marketing cigarettes overseas.

Sept. 1, 2006
British American Tobacco, Altria/Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds, Brown and Williamson and Lorillard ask Judge Kessler to allow them to continue to use deceptive terms such as "low tar" and "light" outside the United States and clarify other provisions in her order.

Trial and Judgment

Aug. 17, 2006
Judge Kessler issues Final Opinion and Final Judgment and Remedial Order, finding the tobacco companies liable for violating civil racketeering laws by lying for decades about the health risks of smoking and marketing to children. Among her remedies, she orders the tobacco companies to publish corrective statements about the adverse health effects of smoking and secondhand smoke and other topics.

Oct. 17, 2005
U.S. Supreme Court declines government's appeal of a lower court ruling barring the disgorgement of past profits as a remedy under civil RICO.

July 22, 2005
Public health groups are granted their motion to intervene. Read the opinion

June 29, 2005
Six public health groups file a motion seeking to intervene in the case on the issue of remedies.

June 8, 2005
Government tells the court it is seeking a smoking cessation remedy of $10 billion over five years instead of $130 billion over 25 years as recommended by its expert witness on cessation.

June 7, 2005 - June 9, 2005
Government and Joint Defendants present closing arguments, ending the trial phase of the lawsuit.

Feb. 4, 2005
U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rules 2-1 that disgorgement of illegal profits is not an allowable remedy.

Sept. 21, 2004
Trial begins.

May 24, 2004
Judge Kessler rules that the Government can seek a $280 billion claim for disgorgement, or forfeiture, of illegal tobacco industry profits.

Sept. 28, 2000
Judge Kessler rules the Government can go forward to try its case under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), but dismisses two claims seeking reimbursement for tobacco-related medical expenses under Medicare and other federal government health care programs (the judge ruled that statutes do not permit this type of recovery). 

Sept. 22, 1999
The Government files its lawsuit against the major tobacco companies.

Last updated May 2, 2018