WASHINGTON -- An anti-smoking group is asking a Delaware court to rule that it cannot be sued by the Lorillard Tobacco Co. for allegedly violating the 1998 industry settlement with states.
The Washington-based nonprofit group, which claims it wasn't a party to the $206 billion tobacco settlement, went into court nearly a month after Lorillard warned Legacy that it planned to sue, the Associated Press reported.
Lorillard, the nation's fourth largest cigarette manufacturer, says Legacy broke a provision of the tobacco settlement that forbids "any personal attack on, or vilification of," tobacco companies.
The Legacy foundation was created as part of the settlement to organize a national effort to educate the public about the dangers of smoking. Legacy attorney Patrick Carome said because Legacy didn't sign the settlement agreement, but was a creation of it, the organization cannot be sued for breaching the pact.
"To suggest that they are not a part of the Master Settlement Agreement is rather confusing since they receive 100 percent of their funding through the Master Settlement Agreement," Lorillard spokesman Steve Watson said.
Watson said Legacy has vilified his company with its "Truth" advertising campaign. Watson cited one radio ad in which a person identifying himself as a dog walker phones Lorillard and tells the operator he wants to sell the company "quality dog urine" because it is "full of urea, one of the chemicals you guys put into cigarettes."
Lorillard, of Greensboro, N.C., said it doesn't add urea to cigarettes, saying it is a substance found naturally in tobacco leaves, the report said.