On behalf of the State of Montana, our firm has asked the District Court in Helena for a declaratory ruling that Montana "diligently enforced" the provisions of certain statutes it passed following the historic 1998 "Master Settlement Agreement" ("MSA").
Under the MSA, the tobacco companies that have joined the settlement make large annual payments to Montana and the other states. The tobacco companies, however, claim that market share losses in 2003 to other cigarette companies that did not join the settlement entitle them to reduce their annual payments. The MSA provides that Montana does not have to participate in any such payment reduction if it "diligently enforced" the provisions of Mont. Code Ann. §§ 16-11-401 through 16-11-404 during the calendar year in which the tobacco companies that joined the MSA suffered the alleged market share loss. The motion we just filed on behalf of the State of Montana seeks a declaratory ruling that Montana "diligently enforced" these statutes in 2003: