Appeals court dismisses patients' claim on tobacco settlement
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- An appeals court dismissed a lawsuit Thursday brought by people with smoking-related illnesses who wanted a share of the state' s multimillion-dollar settlement with tobacco companies.
The $5.9 billion settlement payments were intended to reimburse the state for past and future tobacco-related medical costs.
The three plaintiffs had all or part of their treatments paid for by Medicaid, the state' s medical assistance program.
Karen Herek of Racine and Ulysses Parish and Helen V. Hagie, both of Milwaukee, claimed federal and state laws require Wisconsin to pay Medicaid recipients a part of the settlement.
They also contended the money the state would collect from tobacco companies far exceeds what the state has paid to cover smoking-related health care costs for all Medicaid recipients.
The 4th District Court of Appeals rejected their arguments, saying the state had no law entitling the Medicaid recipients to the settlement money.
John C. Cabaniss, an attorney representing the three Medicaid recipients, was at a trial Thursday in Virginia and did not immediately return a telephone message The Associated Press left at his Milwaukee office.