Justices reject tobacco firms’ appeal over state payments


WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court won’t hear appeals from tobacco companies that wanted to reduce payments owed to Maryland and Pennsylvania.

After a federal arbitration panel in 2013 cut the annual payments by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Philip Morris USA, and others, state courts ruled that was wrong. The justices are leaving those rulings in place. The payments reimburse the states for smoking-related health costs.

A nationwide settlement in 1998 allowed tobacco companies to seek a reduction if they lost market share to competitors not participating in the agreement. States could avoid the reduction if they diligently enforced laws against non-participating companies.

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