The Supreme Court said on Monday that it rejected separate appeals by cigarette makers and the Obama administration stemming from the government's racketeering lawsuit against the tobacco industry, a case that initially sought $280 billion from the industry.
Cigarette companies appealed to the nation's highest court after a federal appeals court ruled last year that the firms had violated federal anti-racketeering laws by conspiring to lie for years to sell tobacco products they knew were dangerous.
The administration appealed on a separate issue, arguing the appeals court wrongly rejected disgorgement by the industry of billions of dollars in ill-gotten gains and other expensive remedies, like funding a smoking-cessation program.
The case was filed in 1999 by the Clinton administration and originally sought to force the industry to give up $280 billion in ill-gotten gains, the biggest civil racketeering case ever brought by the U.S. government.
During the trial, which began in 2004, the U.S. Justice Department under the Bush administration scaled back its demands to $14 billion for various anti-smoking programs.
Defendants included Altria Group Inc and its Philip Morris USA unit; the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco unit of Reynolds American Inc; Lorillard Inc; Vector Group Ltd's Liggett Group; British American Tobacco Plc and its Brown & Williamson unit; and two now-defunct industry groups.
The Supreme Court rejected the appeals without any comment.
(Reporting by James Vicini, Editing by John Wallace)