Providence County Superior Court
For Plaintiff: Maria Corvese, Esq.; Rebecca J. Partington, Esq.
For Defendant: Maria
Corvese, Esq. Rebecca J. Partington, Esq. Gerald J. Petros, Esq. Andrew S.
Tugan, Esq. Elli Leibenstein, Esq. Tara Fumerton, Esq. Joseph Avanzato, Esq.
Alexander Shaknes, Esq. Stewart Aaron, Esq. Douglas J. Emanuel, Esq. Robert
Brookhiser, Esq. Elizabeth McCallum, Esq.
This cause is before the Court for final decision with respect to matters involving certain arbitration provisions dealing with the so-called annual NPM (non-participating manufacturers) adjustment provided for in the Master Settlement Agreement of 1998 which terminated litigation among tobacco manufacturers and the various states and territories of the United States.
On January 7, 2016, this Court rendered a Bench Decision, so-called, in this matter which is incorporated herein and made a part hereof. A copy of which is annexed hereto.
Subsequent to that Decision the Court, in accordance with the provisions thereof, received reports on or about January 21, 2016 consistent with reports rendered to the Honorable Dee Benson, Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Utah, Central Division. The Court also received a request for an additional thirty day period to determine if an agreement could be "worked out" from the Attorney General representing the State of Rhode Island. Additionally, the Court has been furnished with copies of orders entered by several other courts with respect to the same or similar issues pending before those courts. The Court also has been furnished with (1) a copy of a transcript of a conference conducted by Judge Benson in the United States District Court in Utah and (2) the transcript of a preliminary conference held on February 3, 2016 before Judges Robertson, Birch and Pro.
Based upon the foregoing (including its earlier Bench Decision), as well as on the arguments, written and oral before this Court, the Court rules as follows:
1. Pursuant to Section 5 of the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 5, former Article III judge, the Honorable Benson Legg, is appointed as the arbitrator for the tobacco manufacturer/seller side, Le., for Philip Morris USA, Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and the subsequent participating manufacturers collectively.
2. Judge Legg's appointment is in replacement of Judge Birch, previously designated by Philip Morris USA, Inc. as the arbitrator for the tobacco/seller side, and he will join Judges Robertson and Pro, heretofore selected as the State's arbitrator and the third-party arbitrator or umpire respectively.
3. The arbitration panel composed as herein indicated shall have sole discretion to decide what claims or issues shall be heard or resolved during and as part of the arbitration of the 2004 MSA payment adjustments.
4. In the event that all parties agree to an alternative course of action, they may seek relief from the Order to be entered herein by application to the Court. Counsel for the parties shall submit the ...