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PORTLAND, Ore. -- Carolina Tobacco Co., the privately-held manufacturer of Roger and Kingsboro price-value cigarettes, has reached an agreement with 46 states and the District of Columbia over a dispute whether the company was the manufacturer of the Roger brand of cigarettes.
According to a statement released by the company, the dispute dates back to November 1999 through April 2003, when the Roger brand was made by Latvia-based House of Prince Riga, but was under the control and direction of Carolina Tobacco.
In 2003, the states' governments questioned Carolina Tobacco's right to submit state certifications and make escrow payments, which are required under the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. Later, the questions resulted in multiple lawsuits, which the company stated have been resolved with the $31 million settlement.
As part of the decision, Carolina Tobacco will distribute the $31 million from escrow to the states and the District of Columbia. Also, those states will recognize Carolina Tobacco as the manufacturer of Roger brand cigarettes from 1999 to 2003.
"Our desire has always been to resolve this matter in a way that recognizes our status as manufacturer and solidifies our status as a leading supplier of high quality, low-price products throughout the U.S. The agreement we've reached accomplishes this and also provides significant financial benefits to the states," said David Redmond, president of Carolina Tobacco.
The $31 million settlement will be distributed as determined by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which served as the independent auditor to the Master Settlement Agreement.
The 46 states that will receive money are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.