U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler’s ruling last month supporting union health funds in their RICO suit against the tobacco industry did more than breathe new life into labor’s case. It has potentially more ominous implications for the tobacco industry Kessler is also presiding over the Justice Department’s massive suit against cigarette makers.

The strongly worded opinion backing the use of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act bodes well for the Justice Department suit, which depends in large part on RICO-based charges.

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