U.S. Tobacco Coop. Inc. v. Big South Wholesale of Va., LLC.

Cigarette company buys tobacco distribution business, hires its former owners to continue running things. Yikes! The distribution business is something of a “Trojan Horse.” The ATF funds part of it, and the former owners are longtime confidential informants (who helped nail over 100 cigarette traffickers and generate tens of millions of dollars in forfeitures). Cigarette company: The former owners overvalued their business’s assets thanks to the ATF funds and otherwise violated their agreements with us in a bunch of ways. District court: The informants were de facto federal agents, so you have to sue the feds instead. District court (with new judge after original judge retires): Nah, you can sue the informants. Fourth Circuit: You can’t reconsider a decision like that. The feds are indeed the proper defendants.

Tags: 2018, ATF, Fourth Circuit, Immunity

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