CATEGORY: Miscellaneous

AUTHOR: BOBBY

HED:Tobacco chronology

The following list contains key dates in Attorney General Mike Moore's lawsuit against the tobacco companies:

- May 23, 1994 - Moore sues tobacco companies, including manufacturers, wholesalers and public relations firms, to recover tax money spent treating tobacco-related illnesses.

- Nov. 29, 1995 - Jeffrey Wigand, who served as head of research for Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co., answers questions from Moore and federal attorneys about cigarette makers. While Wigand's remarks are sealed, stories come out saying he testified that Brown & Williamson's chairman lied to Congress in 1994 when he testified that he didn't believe nicotine was addictive.

- Feb. 16, 1996 - Gov. Kirk Fordice files action in Mississippi Supreme Court, claiming Moore does not have authority to sue tobacco companies without his consent. Fordice continuously belittles Moore's tobacco suit, saying it will hurt the business climate in Mississippi. Moore compares Fordice to the Marlboro Man riding to save the day for the tobacco companies.

- Feb. 29, 1996 - Tobacco companies join Fordice's action in Supreme Court, saying Moore does not have authority to initiate lawsuit without governor's consent.

- March 15, 1996 - The Liggett Group, one of the smaller tobacco companies, agrees to pay Mississippi and four other states $10 million for the costs of treating tobacco-related illnesses. State gets check for $200,000 in April. Other states' attorneys general are joining Moore's lawsuit effort, which is gaining momentum.

- Sept. 4, 1996 - State Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the case Fordice and tobacco companies brought against Moore.

- March 13, 1997 - Supreme Court rules in Moore's favor.

- June 20, 1997 - State attorneys general, led by Moore, announce $368 billion national settlement over a 25-year period. The settlement must be approved by Congress and Clinton.

- July 3, 1997 - Moore announces $3.4 billion state settlement with tobacco companies in case national agreement is killed. Jackson County Chancery Judge William Myers cancels Moore's lawsuit with tobacco companies, which was set for July 7 on Gulf Coast.

- July 15, 1997 - State gets first payment from tobacco companies - $170 million.

- Oct. 7, 1997 - Moore, along with state Health Office Ed Thompson, announces the beginning of campaign to try to curb teen smoking. All tobacco billboards in state are removed, and Moore explains that tobacco companies have agreed to give state $65 million to initiate pilot programs to curb teen smoking.

- March 28, 1998 - While Legislature agrees not to spend any of tobacco lawsuit money during 1998 session, lawmakers do announce that Moore has agreed to fund various items through $65 million grant he received to develop programs to curb teen smoking. The programs to be funded include Municipal Crime Prevention Program and pilot school nurse program.

- July 7, 1998 - While national settlement appears to be falling apart because of a lack of agreement between Republicans and Democrats, Mississippi's deal seems to be getting better and better. Moore announces state will get an additional $550 million during next five years because the terms of his agreement with tobacco companies ensured that no other state would get a better deal.

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