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State Supreme Court Hears Tobacco Case

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Supreme Court heard the case of the state versus Phillip Morris Monday morning.

After the tobacco buyout was passed, the North Carolina courts ruled that tobacco companies still owed refunds to farmers and quota holders. Phillip Morris disagreed, so the case has moved to the courtroom.

"What tobacco companies are trying to do is skip an (2004) payment in its entirety," said Kieran Shanahan, attorney for the tobacco growers. "There is an 2004 payment due and those farmers have relied on it, you have expected it and need it to get themselves going."

"We are going to pay $8 billion to farmers and quota holders under the buyout instead of the remaining $2.7 million that was due under the trust," said Jim Phillips, attorney for Phillip Morris.

Whatever the justices decide, it will apply to all 14 states involved in the agreement with tobacco companies. The court heard arguments from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Justices are expected to rule on the dispute in 30 to 60 days.

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