LIGGETT GROUP, INC. V. COM.
BUSINESS LAW: TOBACCO SETTLEMENT
PANEL: WINE, PRESIDING; THOMPSON, KNOPF CONCUR
DATE RENDERED: 08/24/2007
The Court upheld the Lower Court’s motion for Summary Judgment on a challenge to a lengthy and extremely complicated tobacco settlement master plan.
The Appellants contend that a 2004 agreement allowing Vibo Corporation, d/b/a General Tobacco (and its affiliates Trademark Holding Corporation and Sun Tobacco, Inc.) (collectively “GT”), to join the MSA violated the terms of the MSA. The Appellants argue that they are entitled either to set aside the agreement between the Settling States and GT, or to be given terms relatively as favorable as those afforded to GT.
COA disagreed with the Appellants that the Settling States improperly allowed GT to finance its back payment over a twelve-year period and that the MSA required GT to include all of its 2004 sales in the calculation of its 2005 payment and further concluded that, since the Appellants are not affected by the terms of the GT Agreement, they are not entitled to set aside the GT Agreement, to withhold their consent to it, or to receive “Most Favored Nation” treatment under the MSA. Hence, COA affirmed the circuit court’s order granting summary judgment to the Commonwealth and GT.
Digested by Michael Stevens