State v. Phillip Morris USA, Inc., 2004 NCBC 9 (N.C. Super. Ct. Dec. 23, 2004)(Tennille)

This case involved "tobacco law." The Court found that the enactment of the Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform Act of 2004 ("FETRA") on October 22, 2004 activated the Tax Offset Adjustment provision in the National Tobacco Grower Settlement Trust created as a part of the Master Settlement Agreement, which permitted the Settlors under the Trust to offset their FETRA payments against payments owed to the Trust for calendar year 2004. This meant, in effect, that the cigarette manufacturers did not have to make a significant payment to the Trust.

The opinion contains an extensive discussion of the history of tobacco regulation and the sale of tobacco in the United States.

The Court was clearly pained by the result it felt compelled to reach, which was issued only two days before Christmas. It stated "[i] would be far more pleasing to the Court to play the role of Santa’s helper on this twenty-third day of December rather than be subjected to the inevitable comparison to the Grinch." The Court was later reversed by the North Carolina Supreme Court.

Full Opinion

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