For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: April 15, 2003
Idaho Expects to Receive Annual Tobacco Settlement Payment
(Boise) - The State of Idaho expects to receive an annual payment of approximately $18.6 million that is due today under terms of the national tobacco settlement, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said.
"Today's timely receipt of the Philip Morris payment nullifies the need for further legal action at this time," Attorney General Wasden said. "If and when future circumstances raise a strong possibility that a company bound by the Master Settlement Agreement may not meet its obligations, my office will act to protect Idaho's legal interests under the settlement."
Philip Morris USA had notified the state that it might not be able to make its payment of $9,410,896 due to a recent judgment against the company in a private class action case in Illinois. Philip Morris USA is responsible for 52.8% of the tobacco industry's annual payment to Idaho.
The company had said that, if required to post a $12 billion bond to appeal the Illinois decision, it might not be able to make its annual payments required by the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement.
Late yesterday, the Illinois court approved an agreement between Philip Morris and attorneys for the class. The agreement made it possible for Philip Morris to meet its obligations to the states. At the same time, the Illinois court was satisfied that the appeal bond agreed upon is sufficient to protect the members of the class.
Attorney General Wasden gave Philip Morris notice that Idaho would sue if the company failed to make its payment to the state. The Master Settlement Agreement requires that states give tobacco companies 30 days notice before filing suit. The 30-day period is intended to provide a reasonable time period for a tobacco company to cure any deficiencies in its compliance with the Master Settlement Agreement.