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Appeals court upholds Philip Morris sanctions

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(Reuters) – A federal appeals court on Friday upheld a ruling banning tobacco company Philip Morris USA, a unit of Altria Group Inc, from making false or deceptive statements about cigarettes.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld a 2009 injunction banning the company, which sells Marlboro and other cigarettes, from making misleading statements or implying health benefits.

The court had previously upheld injunctions placed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, but the cigarette company brought a new challenge after Congress passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in 2009.

Philip Morris said the newest act, which increased restrictions on the actions of cigarette companies, made the injunctions redundant.

But the company’s history of non-compliance led the three-judge panel to agree with a lower court that there is no assumption Philip Morris will comply with the new law.

This is the thirteenth year of litigation between Philip Morris and U.S. government.

The case is United States of America et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc. Number 11-5146.

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