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NY attorney general claims win in tobacco claim

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says arbitrators have rejected a claim from major cigarette manufacturers that the state owes them part of one year's $800 million payment under a multi-state settlement agreement over tobacco-related diseases.

According to Schneiderman, the three arbitrators have ordered the companies to pay New York more than $92 million that was withheld from 2003.

The companies said New York failed to collect escrow payments as required from other manufacturers who didn't sign the 1998 agreement, specifically those sold on Indian reservations.

The manufacturers have similar claims for subsequent years.

Philip Morris said the arbitrators determined six of 15 states failed in 2003 to enforce the agreement, that it expects a credit of $145 million against next year's payments and will pursue arbitration for 2004.