Dec. 20, 2012. North Carolina and 18 other states have reached an agreement with major tobacco companies that will provide more than $108 million to North Carolina along with continued annual payments, Attorney General Cooper said Wednesday.
“Resolving this dispute now avoids costly litigation and provides a framework to ensure future payments,” said Cooper.
The agreement resolves a 10-year dispute over payments owed by the companies under the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA). Complete terms of the settlement, along with required approvals, are still to be finalized.
In 1998, Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, Brown & Williamson and Lorillard agreed to pay states more than $200 billion over 25-plus years to settle lawsuits over health care costs related to smoking. Several other tobacco companies later joined the MSA. For the past ten years, the tobacco companies and the states have had a dispute over portions of the payments.
Since 2003, North Carolina has received more than $1 billion under the agreement. Approximately $23 million or more of each annual payment would be put at risk by continuing the dispute.
Joining North Carolina in reaching the agreement announced today are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.