Nearly fourteen years ago forty-six states and the nation’s major tobacco manufacturers entered the Master Settlement Agreement, the largest civil settlement in United States history. This Article examines a current controversy under the MSA and why, as a result of that controversy, states may be required to return up to $7 billion in MSA payments to tobacco manufacturers. The Article focuses specifically on how New York’s seemingly unrelated policy decision not to collect excise taxes on cigarettes sold on Indian reservations may end up costing the state billions of dollars in MSA payments. After explaining the current controversy and New York’s particular situation, the Article extracts pertinent lessons from the states’ experience with the MSA. Those lessons might prove useful in avoiding “unintended consequences”—such as the one currently faced by New York—in future landmark settlements, including the recently-announced settlement between forty-nine states and five of the nation’s largest mortgage servicing companies.
- Master Settlement Agreement
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/andrew_haile/3/