Local News

AGs Try to Block Bankruptcy Escape Hatch

Posted March 26, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— State attorneys general have banded together to hire a Los Angeles legal firm that specializes in bankruptcies to ensure states get money due them from tobacco firms.

The attorneys general fear that the cigarette makers might declare bankruptcy to get out of the debt.

At issue: approximately $10 billion won by the attorneys general in lawsuits against the country's five biggest tobacco companies.

In addition, the companies face a potentially record-setting $300 billion punitive damage award in a Florida smoker's trial.

North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt may call an emergency legislative session to deal with the tobacco issue.