SUPREME COURT RESTORES PART OF TOBACCO FUNDING
The Missouri Supreme Court ruled 4-0 on Feb. 14 that an arbitration panel overstepped its authority when ruled the state had to forfeit about $50 million in money it receives as part of a 1998 national settlement with the tobacco industry. As a result, the state will be able to recoup that funding.
Missouri collects roughly $130 million a year from the settlement, which involved 45 other states, over the deceptive marketing practices major tobacco companies were accused of engaging in. A few years ago, an arbitration panel ruled that in 2003 Missouri was out of compliance with a portion of the settlement requiring states to enact certain laws aimed at negating the potential pricing advantage for smaller tobacco companies that don’t pay into the settlement.
In its decision, the Supreme Court said the arbitration panel improperly and unilaterally changed the terms of the settlement agreement in imposing sanctions against Missouri. The case is State ex rel. Eric Greitens v. American Tobacco Co., et al.
APPEALS COURT REVERSES RULING AGAINST CORRECTIONS
A panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District on Feb. 21 reversed a lower court’s ruling that the state Department of Corrections violated the state Sunshine Law by refusing to disclose records identifying the compounding pharmacies it contracts with to produce pentobarbital, the drug used to execute condemned inmates in Missouri.
The appeals panel ruled 3-0 that Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem erred when he said the state law that shields the identities of the state’s execution team doesn’t extend to those who supply the execution drug. Beetem had allowed the department to keep the identity of the drug manufacturer secret while the case was under appeal.
Missouri and other states have turned to compounding pharmacies to make execution drugs in recent years as most major pharmaceutical companies, under pressure from death penalty opponents, have refused to sell drugs to states for lethal injection purposes. States have sought to keep the identities of the compounding pharmacies they work with secret in order to shield them from the same pressures.
The case, Joan Bray, et al., v. George Lombardi, et al., is expected to be appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court.