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U.S. Supreme Court Permits Montana to Pursue Tobacco Case in Court System Rather Than Arbitration

On June 1, 2010, the United States Supreme Court declined the tobacco companies' request to review the Montana Supreme Court's decision in State ex rel. Bullock v. Philip Morris, Inc.

Our firm represents the State of Montana in this case.  The tobacco companies claim Montana did not "diligently enforce" certain statutes the Montana legislature enacted following the historic 1998 settlement that ended litigation Montana and other states had pursued against the tobacco industry.  The tobacco companies argued that this "diligent enforcement" claim had to be decided in a nationwide arbitration with the other states.  Montana believes the settlement agreement entitles it to litigate this claim in the state court system.  The Montana Supreme Court agreed with Montana's interpretation of the agreement, and by declining to review the case the United States Supreme Court has left in place the decision of the Montana Supreme Court.

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