Judge subjects Yakama Nation business to tobacco settlement
Posted: Tuesday, April 9, 2013
A federal judge ordered a tobacco company on the Yakama Nation
of Washington to pay into a tobacco settlement fund.
King Mountain Tobacco was not a party to the multi-state settlement that set up the fund.
But the judge said the Yakama Treaty of 1855 does not exempt the business, whose products rely on off-reservation activities.
"King Mountain’s business involves (1) shipping tobacco to
Tennessee, where it is threshed, (2) shipping tobacco to North Carolina,
where King Mountain tobacco is blended with Alliance One tobacco, (3)
transporting the blended tobacco on its trucks from North Carolina back
to Washington, (4) advertising its cigarettes in multiple states through
trade shows and the Internet, and (5) selling its cigarettes (through a
distributor) to retail stores throughout Washington (and multiple other
states) that ultimately sell cigarettes to consumers," Judge Lonny Suko wrote in the decision.
"When taking into account the manufacturing process and the amount
of non-trust-land tobacco that is used in King Mountain’s products, the
Court finds that the cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco products
produced by King Mountain are not principally generated from the use of
reservation land and resources," Suko continued. "In sum, the finished cigarettes and
roll-your-own tobacco are not directly derived from trust land."
Turtle Talk has posted documents from the case, King Mt. Tobacco Co. v. McKenna
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Court shoots down Yakama tobacco suit
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