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Abstract

This article discusses the effects of the largest legal settlement in United States history: the so-called Master Settlement Agreement , or "MSA." Part I discusses the settlement generally, and its intended effect on the U.S. tobacco market. Parts II through IV discuss the unintended consequences of the settlement.' Part II considers how states got into their current disarray, and how a perceived state windfall of billions of dollars ended up putting states on what by all accounts now appears to be very real risk of insolvency. Part III examines how the major tobacco companies are using the states' dire financial condition to stifle tribal sovereignty and Indian industry. Part IV analyzes the federal government's role in similar oppressive tactics. The concluding section suggests lessons that might be learned from the MSA. In sum, it appears that state attorneys generals' encroachment upon state legislatures' policy-making, effectively binding each state into a deal with the major tobacco companies, resulted in a benefit only to "Big Tobacco" companies and not the states.