Academic journal article Defense Counsel Journal

Everyone Wants to Get a Little Tobacco Money

Academic journal article Defense Counsel Journal

Everyone Wants to Get a Little Tobacco Money

Article excerpt

California stands to receive about $25 billion over 25 years from the major tobacco companies as a result of the master settlement agreement reached with 46 states and six territories in 1998. So everyone wants to get in the act.

It occurred to Louis Bolduc and other California beneficiaries of the federal-state medicaid program, called Medi-Cal in California, for tobacco-related illnesses that they were entitled to some of this largesse. The California Court of Appeal, Second District, decided otherwise in California v. Superior Court (Bolduc), 99 Cal.Rptr.2d 735 (Cal.App. 2000).

The theory was that there was "excess" money ready for plucking after the federal and state governments were reimbursed for their actual expenses. Pointing out that Medi-Cal recipients statutorily assign their rights to recover medical benefits from any potentially liable third party to the state, the plaintiffs sued the state for declaratory and injunctive relief, an accounting, and a constructive trust. The state demurred, but the trial court sided with the plaintiffs. …

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