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May 9, 2018

Civil Practice – Declaratory Judgment Action – Sovereign Immunity – Tobacco Settlement – Escrow Refund

As a manufacturer of tobacco products who did not participate in the 1998 settlement with other tobacco companies, plaintiff must pay into an escrow account required by G.S. § 66-291. Plaintiff alleges that it has paid more than required into the escrow account and that it is entitled to a refund; however, § 66-291 does […]

May 11, 2017

RJR nets big ruling in employees’ ERISA suit

Like the noxious vapors left behind by a passing smoker, the litigation between R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and 3,500 of its current and former employees has lingered longer than anyone would have liked. But the protracted dispute might finally be close to being stubbed out after a divided 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a […]

May 20, 2016

Business Court asks Supreme Court to consider conflict between Seed Law, UCC

In what is being called an unprecedented move, Chief Judge James Gale of the North Carolina Business Court is “urging” the state Supreme Court to accept a case because it raises significant questions that have the potential to affect North Carolina’s system of commerce. The case, Kornegay Family Farms v. Cross Creek Seed Inc., pits […]

Mar 7, 2016

RJ Reynolds not liable to employees for ill-timed stock sell-off

There are a few simple principles for savvy investing. One is that it’s crucial to diversify your assets—holding a broad share of the stock market is a much safer bet than buying lots of stock in any one company. Second, it’s tough to beat the market—if a company’s prospects for the future appear bright, that […]

Sep 24, 2015

Insurance — Tobacco Crop – Disease – Late Harvest – Administrative Review

J.O.C. Farms, LLC v. Rural Community Insurance Agency, Inc. (Lawyers Weekly No. 15-02-0904, 22 pp.) (James Dever III, C.J.) 4:12-cv-00186; E.D.N.C. Holding: Where all of the underlying administrative decisions at least implicitly found that plaintiff’s tobacco crop was damaged by disease, the deputy director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Appeals Division erred when […[...]

Sep 15, 2015

Jury awards $34M to family in Florida tobacco lawsuit

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — A jury in Florida’s Panhandle has awarded $34 million to the family of a man who died of lung cancer 15 years after he quit smoking. The lawsuit filed by Garry O’Hara’s widow and children against R.J. Reynolds tobacco company was one of thousands filed in Florida after the state Supreme Court […]

Aug 12, 2015

Contract — Promissory Note – Borrower’s Discretion – Ambiguity

Odom v. Kelly (Lawyers Weekly No. 15-16-0785, 19 pp.) (Linda Stephens, J.) Appealed from Wake County Superior Court (Kendra Hill, J.) N.C. App. Unpub. Holding: Although a promissory note gives the borrower discretion as to when to make payments, the note is an enforceable contract, albeit with ambiguous terms. We reverse summary judgment for defendant […]

Mar 12, 2015

Report: Raising legal age for tobacco would stop, delay use

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Raising the legal age to buy tobacco to higher than 18 would likely prevent premature death for hundreds of thousands of people, according to a report issued Thursday by the Institute of Medicine. The report examines the public health impact of increasing the age to 19, 21 or 25. While it […]

Jul 22, 2014

Judge: FDA can’t use panel’s report on menthol cigs

The Food and Drug Administration can't use an advisory panel's 2011 report on menthol cigarettes because its members had conflicts of interest, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Mar 17, 2014

Tobacco company in $3 million dispute with feds

A Kentucky-based tobacco company that makes Golden Harvest, Millennium and Red Buck cigars is asking a judge to prevent the government from taking its equipment to settle a disputed $3 million tax bill.

Apr 12, 2013

Employers besieged on all sides for misclassifying workers

In an effort to fend off a real audit of their books, one of the major tobacco companies hired a law firm to look into whether it was classifying its 5,000 workers correctly. “The audit was to find out what kind of exposure they had,” said Kristin R. Erenburg of Walter Haverfield in Cleveland, Ohio, the lawyer hired by the company.

Mar 15, 2013

Hypothetical investor saves firm $51 million in real money

After more than a decade of litigation, a federal judge has dismissed a class action lawsuit against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco that sought more than $51 million in compensation for former employees over an alleged mishandling of its 401(k) plan.

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