|By Marketwired .||
|November 13, 2012 10:30 AM EST||
WASHINGTON, DC -- (Marketwire) -- 11/13/12 -- Citing "knowing violations" and "wanton, willful and reckless disregard" of contractual agreements with the U.S. military that ultimately deprived millions of dollars in funding for programs for active duty and retired military personnel and their families, a lawsuit filed against Philip Morris USA Inc. (PM USA) by Anthony Oliver on behalf of the U.S. government is currently pending a ruling by the U.S. District Court, District of Columbia. The complaint was filed under the False Claims Act that allows individuals to effect legal action on behalf of the government ("writ of qui tam") and is the first known lawsuit of its type ever filed against PM.
The complaint states that PM USA has been selling its cigarettes to the military at prices significantly higher than what civilian distributors are charged. A particularly disturbing effect of PM USA's behavior is the significant reduction of funding for programs sponsored by the military services' Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Fund. MWR funding derives in part from tobacco profits from the military exchanges. Consequently, the victims of these False Claims are not the smoker, but all servicemen and women and their families who benefit from MWR-funded services.
According to the complaint, PM USA charged the higher prices to the military despite most favorable customer warranties stipulated in PM USA's long standing agreements with the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) and the Army and Air Forces Exchange Services (AAFES). These entities, two components of the U.S. Department of Defense Supply Systems Command, provide goods and services to active duty and retired soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines.
As a result, the complaint maintains that PM USA has "charged NEXCOM and AAFES millions of dollars more, annually, for its cigarette products than has been paid by either defendant's affiliates purchasing such products or foreign purchasers buying such products..." The complaint also contends that PM USA "falsely warranted" that it was in compliance with price warranties as part of its agreements with NEXCOM and AAFES.
While the lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, the False Claims Act provides six years of retroactively applied recovery for the government of three times the cumulative overcharge plus up to $10,000 per occurrence. The suit estimates that, for Marlboro cigarettes alone, AAFES and NEXCOM purchased approximately 1.8 million cartons annually overseas "...at improperly inflated prices pursuant to defendant's false claims and false statements."
In its July 27, 2012 response attempting to get the legal action dismissed, PM USA called the complaint a "strike suit" by a "disgruntled competitor." PM USA then proffered a labyrinth of often-contradictory reasons to explain how its pricing structure to the military does not violate the False Claims Act.
"I will not remark on PM's preposterous personal attack on me today," Oliver stated, "but our opposition memo to the court efficiently unravels their obfuscations and absurd explanations. For example, in its motion to dismiss, PM USA maintains 'managing the Surgeon General's Warning' is justification for a higher price to the military compared to civilian market distributors. How exactly is that so when civilian market distributors purchase the very same product with the identical warning at a much lower price?"
Responding to another meritless argument from PM USA that boasts the government continues to contract with Philip Morris, Oliver again cited his Opposition Memo to the Motion to Dismiss: "...the existence of continuing contracts between Philip Morris and the military exchanges can be explained by Philip Morris's policy of restricting its civilian market distributors from selling to the military." International distributors will not defy Philip Morris' instructions and jeopardize their lucrative direct purchase privileges with Philip Morris or Philip Morris affiliates. This fact, the Oliver opposition memo explains, "leaves the government with only two options -- to either buy Philip Morris cigarettes directly from it [at any price] or to abandon the world's top-selling cigarette brands."
"In other words, Philip Morris has engineered both a price and supply chain chokehold on the United States military. This lawsuit is a civic duty intended to stop a charade -- a charade that has reduced funding by millions of dollars to the military's Morale, Welfare & Recreation programs," Oliver stated.
Mr. Oliver filed the complaint in 2008 which resulted in a four-year Department of Justice investigation. The Department of Justice has reserved its right to intervene.
Mr. Oliver and the interests of the U.S. government are represented by Zuckerman Spaeder LLP of Washington, D.C., Silver Golub and Teitell LLP of Stamford, Connecticut and John F. Murphy of Hartford, Connecticut. Anthony Oliver is President and CEO of Kick Cigarettes, an independent cigarette manufacturer and supplier to the U.S. government, and is CEO of HONCHO Brands, which markets e-cigars.
The complaint filed is Case # 08 0034 (CKK).
Actian Corporation has announced the latest version of the Actian Vector in Hadoop (VectorH) database, generally available at the end of July. VectorH is based on the same query engine that powers Actian Vector, which recently doubled the TPC-H benchmark record for non-clustered systems at the 3000GB scale factor (see tpc.org/3323). The ability to easily ingest information from different data sources and rapidly develop queries to make better business decisions is becoming increasingly importan...
Aug. 28, 2016 11:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,121
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Aug. 28, 2016 10:30 PM EDT Reads: 4,040
Qosmos has announced new milestones in the detection of encrypted traffic and in protocol signature coverage. Qosmos latest software can accurately classify traffic encrypted with SSL/TLS (e.g., Google, Facebook, WhatsApp), P2P traffic (e.g., BitTorrent, MuTorrent, Vuze), and Skype, while preserving the privacy of communication content. These new classification techniques mean that traffic optimization, policy enforcement, and user experience are largely unaffected by encryption. In respect wit...
Aug. 28, 2016 08:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,824
Deploying applications in hybrid cloud environments is hard work. Your team spends most of the time maintaining your infrastructure, configuring dev/test and production environments, and deploying applications across environments – which can be both time consuming and error prone. But what if you could automate provisioning and deployment to deliver error free environments faster? What could you do with your free time?
Aug. 28, 2016 08:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,944
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitrons Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Hitrons Solutions Inc. is distributor in the North American market for unique products and services of small and medium-size businesses, including cloud services and solutions, SEO marketing platforms, and mobile applications.
Aug. 28, 2016 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 695
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
Aug. 28, 2016 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,617
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Aug. 28, 2016 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,934
SYS-CON Events announced today that eCube Systems, a leading provider of middleware modernization, integration, and management solutions, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. eCube Systems offers a family of middleware evolution products and services that maximize return on technology investment by leveraging existing technical equity to meet evolving business needs. ...
Aug. 28, 2016 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 753
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...
Aug. 28, 2016 03:15 PM EDT Reads: 3,503
Pulzze Systems was happy to participate in such a premier event and thankful to be receiving the winning investment and global network support from G-Startup Worldwide. It is an exciting time for Pulzze to showcase the effectiveness of innovative technologies and enable them to make the world smarter and better. The reputable contest is held to identify promising startups around the globe that are assured to change the world through their innovative products and disruptive technologies. There w...
Aug. 28, 2016 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 754
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
Aug. 28, 2016 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,664
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
Aug. 28, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,430
SYS-CON Events announced today that StarNet Communications will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. StarNet Communications’ FastX is the industry first cloud-based remote X Windows emulator. Using standard Web browsers (FireFox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) users from around the world gain highly secure access to applications and data hosted on Linux-based servers in a central data center. ...
Aug. 28, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 858
Traditional on-premises data centers have long been the domain of modern data platforms like Apache Hadoop, meaning companies who build their business on public cloud were challenged to run Big Data processing and analytics at scale. But recent advancements in Hadoop performance, security, and most importantly cloud-native integrations, are giving organizations the ability to truly gain value from all their data. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, David Tishgart, Director of Product Marketing ...
Aug. 28, 2016 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 700
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Aug. 28, 2016 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,971