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Pa. sues to get all tobacco dollars

May 2, 2006 at 1:01 PM

PHILADELPHIA, May 2 (UPI) -- Pennsylvania joined 23 other states suing R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co and Lorillard Tobacco Co. for withholding $755 million under a 1998 settlement.

Pennsylvania filed suit in Philadelphia to collect $47 million, its annual share of money from tobacco companies that agreed to pay $240 billion over 25 years to reimburse states for tobacco-related illness costs, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday.

Reynolds and Lorillard argued the states had not diligently enforced the agreement and caused them to lose share to smaller tobacco companies not included in the settlement.

However, Pennsylvania sued last week to force tobacco makers to pay their full share.

"We decided it was important to file suit to get the money and to show that we have diligently enforced the agreement," said Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett.

While Reynolds withheld $647 million of its $2 billion payment and Lorillard withheld $108 million of its $666 million payment, Philip Morris USA paid its $3.4 billion share even though it said it agrees with Reynolds and Lorillard.

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