June 18, 2003
Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
REACH $160 MILLION SETTLEMENT
WITH TOBACCO COMPANIES
General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that Maryland will
receive more than $1.88 million from tobacco companies in a settlement
of pending disputes over payments. The bulk of the money will come
from Brown & Williamson, the nation's third largest tobacco
manufacturer. The 1998 Master Settlement Agreement required all
of the major tobacco companies to pay $206 billion to the states
over the first 25 years of the agreement.
payment to the state comes as part of a new, global settlement reached
today for $160 million between the 52 states and jurisdictions and
most of the nation's tobacco manufacturers.
agreement shows that we will not tolerate anything less than full
payment from each and every tobacco maker," Attorney General
Curran said. "We will not hesitate to take action again if
payments are not made in accordance with the terms of the Master
Todays agreement resolves Brown & Williamson's failure
to make payments to the states for the cigarettes it manufactured
for Star Tobacco, Inc., a company that refused to join the settlement.
On behalf of the other states, the Attorney General of Vermont sued
Brown & Williamson over the payments last December.
part of the settlement, all major tobacco manufacturers agreed they
will take responsibility for cigarettes they manufacture for other
companies. The settlement also avoids complex disputes over whether
the 1998 settlement was a "significant factor" in causing
the market share of the companies that signed it to decline during
the first four years of the agreement. That issue had threatened
to drag on into years of costly litigation, Attorney General Curran
said. Instead, the settlement avoids claims from the tobacco companies
that might have reached as much as $1 billion.
Attorney General William H. Sorrell, chair of the Tobacco Committee
of the National Association of Attorneys General who headed the
team that negotiated the agreement for the states, declared that
the agreement was "a major step forward for the states in ensuring
that they will continue to receive the full payments promised under