(a) In general

The United States district courts shall have jurisdiction to prevent and restrain violations of this chapter and to provide other appropriate injunctive or equitable relief, including money damages, for the violations.

(b) Authority of the Attorney General

Terms Used In 15 USC 378

  • Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
  • Equitable: Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law." In English legal history, the courts of "law" could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. See damages. A separate court of "equity" could order someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g., injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in "law" cases but not in "equity" cases. Source: U.S. Courts
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
  • Lawsuit: A legal action started by a plaintiff against a defendant based on a complaint that the defendant failed to perform a legal duty, resulting in harm to the plaintiff.
  • officer: includes any person authorized by law to perform the duties of the office. See
  • person: means an individual, corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, society, State government, local government, Indian tribal government, governmental organization of such a government, or joint stock company. See
  • tribal: refers to an Indian tribe as defined in section 5304(e) of title 25 or as listed pursuant to section 5131 of title 25. See
  • use: includes the consumption, storage, handling, or disposal of cigarettes or smokeless tobacco. See

The Attorney General of the United States shall administer and enforce this chapter.

(c) State, local, and tribal enforcement

(1) In general

(A) Standing

A State, through its attorney general, or a local government or Indian tribe that levies a tax subject to section 376a(a)(3) of this title, through its chief law enforcement officer, may bring an action in a United States district court to prevent and restrain violations of this chapter by any person or to obtain any other appropriate relief from any person for violations of this chapter, including civil penalties, money damages, and injunctive or other equitable relief.

(B) Sovereign immunity

Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to abrogate or constitute a waiver of any sovereign immunity of a State or local government or Indian tribe against any unconsented lawsuit under this chapter, or otherwise to restrict, expand, or modify any sovereign immunity of a State or local government or Indian tribe.

(2) Provision of information

A State, through its attorney general, or a local government or Indian tribe that levies a tax subject to section 376a(a)(3) of this title, through its chief law enforcement officer, may provide evidence of a violation of this chapter by any person not subject to State, local, or tribal government enforcement actions for violations of this chapter to the Attorney General of the United States or a United States attorney, who shall take appropriate actions to enforce this chapter.

(3) Use of penalties collected

(A) In general

There is established a separate account in the Treasury known as the “PACT Anti-Trafficking Fund”. Notwithstanding any other provision of law and subject to subparagraph (B), an amount equal to 50 percent of any criminal and civil penalties collected by the Federal Government in enforcing this chapter shall be transferred into the PACT Anti-Trafficking Fund and shall be available to the Attorney General of the United States for purposes of enforcing this chapter and other laws relating to contraband tobacco products.

(B) Allocation of funds

Of the amount available to the Attorney General of the United States under subparagraph (A), not less than 50 percent shall be made available only to the agencies and offices within the Department of Justice that were responsible for the enforcement actions in which the penalties concerned were imposed or for any underlying investigations.

(4) Nonexclusivity of remedy

(A) In general

The remedies available under this section and section 377 of this title are in addition to any other remedies available under Federal, State, local, tribal, or other law.

(B) State court proceedings

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to expand, restrict, or otherwise modify any right of an authorized State official to proceed in State court, or take other enforcement actions, on the basis of an alleged violation of State or other law.

(C) Tribal court proceedings

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to expand, restrict, or otherwise modify any right of an authorized Indian tribal government official to proceed in tribal court, or take other enforcement actions, on the basis of an alleged violation of tribal law.

(D) Local government enforcement

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to expand, restrict, or otherwise modify any right of an authorized local government official to proceed in State court, or take other enforcement actions, on the basis of an alleged violation of local or other law.

(d) Persons dealing in tobacco products

Any person who holds a permit under section 5712 of title 26 (regarding permitting of manufacturers and importers of tobacco products and export warehouse proprietors) may bring an action in an appropriate United States district court to prevent and restrain violations of this chapter by any person other than a State, local, or tribal government.

(e) Notice

(1) Persons dealing in tobacco products

Any person who commences a civil action under subsection (d) shall inform the Attorney General of the United States of the action.

(2) State, local, and tribal actions

It is the sense of Congress that the attorney general of any State, or chief law enforcement officer of any locality or tribe, that commences a civil action under this section should inform the Attorney General of the United States of the action.

(f) Public notice

(1) In general

The Attorney General of the United States shall make available to the public, by posting information on the Internet and by other appropriate means, information regarding all enforcement actions brought by the United States, or reported to the Attorney General of the United States, under this section, including information regarding the resolution of the enforcement actions and how the Attorney General of the United States has responded to referrals of evidence of violations pursuant to subsection (c)(2).

(2) Reports to Congress

Not later than 1 year after March 31, 2010, and every year thereafter until the date that is 5 years after March 31, 2010, the Attorney General of the United States shall submit to Congress a report containing the information described in paragraph (1).