A circuit judge has ruled Missouri is due nearly $50-million more in this year’s tobacco settlement payment.
The office of Attorney General Chris Koster says the St. Louis Circuit Court ruling partially vacates a 2013 arbitration panel decision that cost Missouri about $70-million from this year’s payment.
Koster has notified the independent auditor that calculates the settlement payments to Missouri and demanded that Missouri’s payment be revised to reflect the new ruling.
In a statement Koster says, “This money will provide needed support for state priorities like public education. I thank our dedicated team of attorneys, who have litigated this case for years to ensure that Missouri receives its fair share of the settlement money.”
The 2013 ruling against Missouri stemmed from the allegation by tobacco companies that participated in the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) that many states, including Missouri, failed to diligently enforce state tobacco laws in 2003. Those companies argued they were entitled to withhold a large portion of their payment for 2003 under the terms of the agreement.
22 states settled their cases. The 3-judge panel issued its 2013 decision against Missouri and five other states that did not settle, and ruled that they were responsible not only for their own share of the loss but also for the shares of the states that had settled. Friday’s ruling stems from a suit filed by Koster last fall arguing that reallocating the liability of the settling states onto the six states that didn’t settle violated the terms of the MSA.