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FOR RELEASE: August 20, 2002
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
405/271-5601

State Health Department Files Appeal on Tobacco Lawsuit

The Oklahoma State Department of Health today filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court to overturn a temporary injunction issued July 23 by a Creek County district court, which forbids the state health department from implementing new secondhand smoke rules.

The appeal requests that the Supreme Court vacate the temporary injunction and declare that the rules are valid and constitutional. Included in the appeal are 53 issues that detail why the agency believes the district court abused its discretion or incorrectly applied the law.

The temporary injunction was issued by Creek County District Judge Donald Thompson following a lawsuit filed by the Oklahoma Restaurant Association against the new rules, which would limit secondhand smoke in numerous public places.

On August 1, the state health department petitioned the state Supreme Court to transfer jurisdiction of the case from Creek County to Oklahoma County in keeping with jurisdictional law, which provides that the appropriate venue for actions against public officials is in their official county of residence.

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