Judge tosses suit challenging tobacco settlement

Published 11:22 pm Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A federal judge has dismissed a challenge to the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between states and 19 tobacco product makers.

U.S. District Judge Jennifer Coffman issued the ruling in Louisville on Tuesday. Coffman said the lawsuit brought by North Carolina-based General Tobacco failed on all fronts because the company couldn’t prove the settlement amounted to anticompetitive behavior by the government.

General Tobacco, the sixth-largest tobacco company in the United States, sued 52 attorneys general and the tobacco makers saying the agreement stifled competition by making it more expensive for new entrants to the industry. The company had asked for more than $1 billion.