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RJR Nabisco et al. v. European Community et al. [United States] [June 20, 2016]
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that RJR Nabisco could not be sued under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act for its conduct abroad. The European Union (known as the European Community in this case) sued RJR Nabisco claiming that the company directed and managed a global smuggling and money-laundering scheme with organized crime groups in violation of the RICO law. In this decision, the Supreme Court ruled that certain elements of RICO can apply to conduct that occurs outside of the United States. However, the Court also found that a private entity— this case, a foreign government—cannot sue under RICO in the United States unless it has suffered a domestic injury. Because the European Union had earlier waived its claims of a domestic injury, the Court was forced to dismiss the EU’s remaining claims.
Black v. Secretary of State for Justice [United Kingdom] [March 08, 2016]
A prisoner claimed that smoking should be prohibited inside a state-run prison. The lower court ruled that the national law prohibiting smoking in workplaces also applied to prisons, including state prisons. The Secretary of State for Justice appealed the decision. The appeals court found that the state is not bound by the national law prohibiting smoking in the workplace. Therefore, the prison is not required to implement the smoking ban.
In re NJOY, Inc. Consumer Class Action Litigation [United States] [February 02, 2016]
A court ruled that a lawsuit against e-cigarette maker NJOY could not proceed as a class action. Potential class members had asserted that NJOY: (1) conducted misleading advertising indicating that e-cigarettes are safer than regular cigarettes; and (2) omitted information on its packaging about product ingredients and the risks of such ingredients. The court affirmed an earlier ruling prohibiting the lawsuit from proceeding as a class action, saying that class members failed to demonstrate how damages can be proven for the entire class. Specifically, the court said that the class was not able to show how it could calculate the difference between the price paid by consumers of NJOY and the true market price that reflects the impact of the unfair or fraudulent business practices. Although the ruling means that the case may not proceed as a class action, individuals may sue NJOY independently.
Bhandari v. Laming [Australia] [October 16, 2015]
A landlord was ordered to pay compensation to his tenant (a percentage of the rent and moving costs) for breaching a rental agreement. The tenant moved out due to an ongoing issue of smoke drifting from a downstairs apartment. The appeals panel which heard the case agreed there was a structural ventilation problem with the building which allowed smoke to flow into the apartment, making it unfit for habitation. Although the landlord was not responsible for the drifting smoke, the panel agreed that he was nevertheless responsible for providing a unit fit for habitation and dismissed the landlord’s appeal.
Recommendation of the European Ombudsman in the inquiry into complaint 852/2014/LP against the European Commission regarding its compliance with the Tobacco Control Convention [European Union] [October 01, 2015]
A non-governmental organization (NGO) complained that the European Commission was violating the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which requires parties to protect against commercial and other vested interests of tobacco companies. The European Ombudsman agreed with the NGO that the European Commission’s policies did not provide sufficient transparency about its meetings with tobacco industry representatives. The Ombudsman recommended that the Commission put into place a policy—similar to the policy currently in place by the Directorate General for Health and Food Safety—that requires online publication of all meetings with tobacco industry representatives and publication of the minutes from those meetings.
Bonavista Management Inc. v. Absolute Star Design Ltd. [Canada] [June 11, 2015]
A business was sued by its neighbors and the property management company because of cigar smoke and fumes drifting into adjoining businesses. The court granted a permanent injunction prohibiting anyone in the offending business from smoking cigars or any other tobacco or marijuana products on the business premises. The court found that the cigar smoking violated a local smoking law, constituted a nuisance, and interfered with the use and enjoyment of other rental units.
Rothmans Benson & Hedges Inc. v. Imperial Tobacco Products Limited [Canada] [May 01, 2015]
Imperial Tobacco applied for a trademark on the use of the color orange on cigarette packaging. This decision by the Court of Appeal upheld an earlier ruling finding that, in principle, a color can be registered as a trademark. Despite objections by another tobacco company, the court found that the color had in fact been used in product packaging by Imperial and that the trademark application accurately depicted the trademarks despite health warnings that also appear on the package.
ASA Adjudication on Mirage Cigarettes Ltd [United Kingdom] [April 29, 2015]
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) reviewed a television ad depicting a couple using electronic cigarettes in a sultry and glamorous manner. The couple was shown surrounded by heavy vapor, which appeared to be a result of the product being used off screen. The ASA found that the ad created a strong association with traditional tobacco smoking and that by depicting this behavior in a positive light, indirectly promoted the use of tobacco products in violation of the Advertising Code. The ASA ordered the company not to broadcast the ads again in their current form.
European Community v. RJR Nabisco, Inc. [United States] [April 13, 2015]
This case involves a claim against RJR Nabisco that the company directed and managed a global smuggling and money-laundering scheme with organized crime groups in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law. The court upheld an earlier decision finding that the RICO law could apply to actions that happen outside of the United States when the underlying laws that constitute racketeering explicitly apply to foreign activity.
ASA Ruling on Lightercase Inc. [United Kingdom] [March 11, 2015]
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) reviewed a sponsored Facebook ad for a mobile phone case containing a built in cigarette lighter. The ad depicted a cigarette being lit followed by the text “TAG SOMEONE WHO CAN USE THIS.” The ASA noted that, although there are no advertising restrictions on cigarette lighters, the ad presented smoking in a positive light and could not be used again in its current form.