General Tobacco - last defendants dropped from cigarette antitrust suit..

December 7, 2009 - Cigarette manufacturer and distributor General Tobacco (GT) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Louisville, Ky., against 52 U.S. attorneys general and 19 tobacco companies—including Philip Morris USA, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Reynolds American Inc. and Lorillard. GT alleges the defendants conspired to set up the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), which was created in 1998, so later market entrants including GT, which began operations in 2000, would have to pay "substantially more" than other tobacco companies, in an effort to "drastically limit future competitors from fair market competition," the company stated. (General Tobacco Sues 52 U.S Attorneys General and 19 Tobacco Companies..)

Now General Tobacco has voluntarily dismissed the last two tobacco companies left in an antitrust suit it brought against the slew of cigarette makers and 52 attorneys general over a 1998 master settlement agreement it claims made it harder for smaller companies to break into the lucrative tobacco industry.

Mayodan, N.C.-based General Tobacco moved toGeneral Tobacco makes MSA payment in full dismiss defendants M/s Dhanraj International and Societe National D’Exploitation Industrielles des Tabacs et Allumettes from the lawsuit on Wednesday after they neglected to appear...

Reference: Last Defendants Dropped From Cigarette Antitrust Suit, Law360, 12/3/2009.

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