Attorney General Chris Koster says a new court ruling should allow Missouri to avoid most of a $70 million penalty for its lackluster enforcement of a legal settlement with tobacco companies.
St. Louis Circuit Judge Jimmie Edwards ruled Friday that an arbitration panel wrongly calculated the amount of settlement payments Missouri should lose for failing to diligently enforce the settlement terms in 2003.
A previous decision by arbitration panel had reduced Missouri's $130 million payment this year by about $70 million.
Koster says Missouri's penalty should be recalculated to about $20 million as a result of Friday's ruling.
Edwards said Missouri's penalty had been wrongly enhanced by redistributing the share of the penalty that otherwise would have been paid by about 20 states that settled cases before going to arbitration.