Big tobacco may not have been slammed with the multibillion-dollar monetary sanctions that the Justice Department had sought in its seven-year-old racketeering suit, but the court’s new demands for document disclosure could bear hidden gold for plaintiffs lawyers.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler’s recent 1,742-page opinion found that nine cigarette manufacturers and two trade groups broke the law by conspiring for more than half a century to hide the truth about smoking’s harmful health effect. U.S. v. Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund, No. 99-2496 (D.D.C.).

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