Arkansas Lawsuit Targets Tobacco
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. â€“â€“ Arkansas is suing 15 small or foreign-based tobacco companies that have allegedly failed to set up a litigation escrow fund.
Arkansas and most other states have laws requiring tobacco companies that were not part of a 1998 national settlement to set up a qualified escrow fund.
The fund is there in case the state files suit against the tobacco companies for violating principles that other tobacco companies agreed to, such as not marketing tobacco products to children or manipulating their product to make it more addictive.
"We want to make sure that if for some reason Arkansas decides to sue them ... there'll be essentially something to sue them for," said Michael Teague, a spokesman for state Attorney General Mark Pryor.
Arkansas is getting $1.6 billion over 25 years as its share of the national tobacco settlement against large tobacco companies.
Some other states already have sued tobacco companies for not setting up such funds, Teague said.