Tobacco wins round on appeal
WASHINGTON Â· The tobacco industry scored a legal victory on Tuesday when a federal appeals court ruled against foreign governments and administrators of union health care funds seeking to recover costs for treating sick smokers.
Lawyers for the U.S. labor funds and the nations of Guatemala, Nicaragua and Ukraine argued in separate claims that they should be compensated for caring for smokers. They also stated the U.S. cigarette companies committed conspiracy and fraud, violating antitrust and racketeering laws.
The U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dismissed the claims in a joint unanimous ruling.
The three-judge panel is the eighth federal appeals court to issue such a ruling against union health care plans and the first to address claims of foreign governments.
Judge Judith Rogers said the countries and the benefit funds could not prove they were directly injured by the tobacco companies.