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Oppenheimer Rochester High Yield Municipal Fund v. Tobacco Settlement Financing Corp.

Superior Court of Rhode Island

January 15, 2015

OPPENHEIMER ROCHESTER HIGH YIELD MUNICIPAL FUND, A SERIES OF OPPENHEIMER MULTI-STATE MUNICIPAL TRUST, AND OPPENHEIMER ROCHESTER AMT-FREE MUNICIPAL FUND
v.
TOBACCO SETTLEMENT FINANCING CORPORATION, THE STATE OF RHODE ISLAND, AND DOES 1 THROUGH 100

Providence County Superior Court

Joseph S. Larisa, Jr., Esq.

Timothy W. Mungovan, Esq.

James R. Lee, Esq. R.I. Department of Attorney General

David Elsberg, Esq. Susheel Kirpalani, Esq. Daniel S. Holzman, Esq. Clinton Dockery, Esq. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

Mark K. Thomas, Esq.

Martin J. Bienenstock, Esq.

Maria R. Corvese, Esq. Special Assistant Enforcement Counsel Tobacco Enforcement Counsel R.I. Department of Attorney General

Justin T. Shay, Esq.

Leah L. Miraldi, Esq.

DECISION

SILVERSTEIN, J.

Before the Court for decision are dispositive motions filed by named Defendants herein. Defendant, Tobacco Settlement Financing Corporation (hereinafter Corporation), seeks summary judgment pursuant to the provisions of R.C.P. 56(b) while the State of Rhode Island (hereinafter State) seeks dismissal under R.C.P. 12(b)(6) as to it for failure by Plaintiffs to state a claim against it upon which relief can be granted. The State further invokes the provisions of R.C.P. 12(f) "to strike any reference to 'Doe' Defendants in Plaintiffs' first amended complaint . . . ." Finally, the State further filed a motion joining in the Corporation's Motion for Summary Judgment.

Facts

The parties or putative parties in this case are Plaintiffs, Oppenheimer Rochester High Yield Municipal Fund, a series of Oppenheimer Multi-State Municipal Trust, and Oppenheimer Rochester AMT-Free Municipal Fund (jointly, hereinafter Oppenheimer), owners of certain bonds, described generally infra. Defendant, Corporation, is a public corporation organized pursuant to the provisions of G.L. 1956 ยง 42-133-4, as amended, which was authorized to sell bonds backed by revenue derived from the 1998 settlement among the State of Rhode Island (a Defendant herein, hereinafter State), 45 other states, and a number of tobacco product manufacturers. The settlement was memorialized by a Master Settlement Agreement (the MSA) which provided for payments to the settling States to begin in 1998 and essentially to continue in perpetuity. The Corporation was authorized to acquire from the State payments due to it pursuant to the MSA and in 2002 purchased from the State certain payments to be made to the State. In order to fund the purchase, the Corporation issued 2002 Series A and Series B bonds. Oppenheimer is the holder of a substantial portion of the outstanding 2002 Series bonds, which bonds were collateralized by the Tobacco Settlement Revenue (TSR) generated by the MSA. The 2002 Series A and Series B bonds are subject to a bond indenture between the Corporation and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., as trustee. As part of the sale by the State to the Corporation in 2002, the State retained a so-called residual certificate representing its remaining interest in the TSR ...


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