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1996 Mar 13:The Liggett group broke ranks with the industry by settling the Castano (largest ever) class-action lawsuit (60 law companies) out of court -- at a price of less than $2 million a year for 25 years. [1]

1996 Aug 27: Wall Street Journal reports that a plan to settle the lawsuit over liabilities was circulating on Capital Hill. Hubert H Humphrey III, the attorney general of Minnesota said it was far too soft on the tobacco industry.[2]

1997 Apr: Serious negotiations over terms of MSA begin with small tobacco executive task force led by Steve Parrish and Tom Griscom.

1997 June 4: Philip Morris's former R&D director Thomas S Osdene sought immunity from prosecution in return for testimony. [3] [4] [5]

1997 Jun 20: The Master Settlement Agreement is announced between the tobacco companies and 40 state attorneys general and lawyers representing plaintiffs in 26 pending class-actions. BAT, PM and RJR sign the$369.5 billion settlement agreement with the US State Attorneys-General, however it remained under consideration by Congess into 1998. [6] [7] It:

  • outlawed billboards, vending machines, sports promotion, cartoon images, warning labels on 25% of packs
  • smoking cessasion programs, medical monitoring, research into lung cancer
  • Release of concealed documents - establishment of tobacco archives
  • $368,5 billion settlement to states over 25 years + $15 billion a year thereafter.
      The stock price of the tobacco companies was hardly affected by the MSA. It was better for the companies than expected. [8] [9] [10]