A. Not later than October 1, 2003, the Attorney General shall develop and publish on its website a directory listing all tobacco product manufacturers that have provided current and accurate certifications conforming to the requirements of § 3.2-4205 and all brand families that are listed in such certifications (the Directory), except as noted below.
1. The Attorney General shall not include or retain in such Directory the name or brand families of (i) any participating manufacturer that fails to provide the required certification or to make a payment calculated by the independent auditor to be due from it under the Master Settlement Agreement except to the extent that it is disputing such payment, or (ii) any nonparticipating manufacturer that fails to provide the required certification or whose certification the Attorney General determines is not in compliance with subsections A through D of § 3.2-4205, unless the Attorney General has determined that such violation has been cured to his satisfaction.
2. Neither a tobacco product manufacturer nor brand family shall be included or retained in the Directory if the Attorney General concludes that (i) in the case of a nonparticipating manufacturer all escrow payments required pursuant to Article 1 (§ 3.2-4200 et seq.) of this chapter for any period for any brand family, whether or not listed by such nonparticipating manufacturer, have not been fully paid into a qualified escrow fund governed by a qualified escrow agreement that has been approved by the Attorney General, (ii) any outstanding final judgments, including interest thereon, for violations of Article 1 of this chapter have not been fully satisfied for such brand family and such manufacturer, (iii) in the case of a nonparticipating manufacturer or a tobacco product manufacturer that became a participating manufacturer after the Master Settlement Agreement execution date, as defined by section II (aa) of the Master Settlement Agreement, by reason of the business plan, business history, trade connections, or compliance and payment history under the Master Settlement Agreement or in Virginia or any other state, or the business history, trade connections or compliance and payment history under the Master Settlement Agreement or in Virginia or any other state of any of the principals thereof, the nonparticipating manufacturer or such tobacco product manufacturer fails to provide reasonable assurance that it will comply with the requirements of this article or of Article 1 (§ 3.2-4200 et seq.) of this chapter, or (iv) the manufacturer has knowingly failed to disclose any material information required or knowingly made any material false statement in the certification of any supporting information or documentation provided.As used in this subdivision, reasonable assurances may include information and documentation establishing to the satisfaction of the Attorney General that a failure to pay in Virginia or elsewhere was the result of a good faith dispute over the payment obligation.
B. The Attorney General shall update the Directory as necessary in order to correct mistakes and to add or remove a tobacco product manufacturer or brand families to keep the Directory in conformity with the requirements of this article.
C. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection A, in the case of any nonparticipating manufacturer who has established a qualified escrow account pursuant to Article 1 (§ 3.2-4200 et seq.) of this chapter that has been approved by the Attorney General, or in the case of any participating manufacturer, the Attorney General may not remove such manufacturer or its brand families from the Directory unless the manufacturer has been given at least 30 days’ notice of such intended action. For purposes of this section, notice shall be deemed sufficient if it is sent either electronically or by first-class mail to an electronic mail address or postal mailing address, as the case may be, provided by the manufacturer in its most recent certification filed pursuant to § 3.2-4205. The notified nonparticipating manufacturer shall have 30 days from receipt of the notice to either come into compliance with the applicable requirements or, in the alternative, secure a temporary injunction against removal from the Directory. For purposes of a temporary injunction sought pursuant to this subsection, loss of the ability to sell tobacco products as a result of removal from the Directory may be deemed to constitute irreparable harm.
2003, c. 798, § 3.1-336.5; 2008, cc. 758, 860.