Lewis Tobacco Settlement Enters Final Phase

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The Lewis Tobacco Class Action Settlement is now in its final phase as hearings are underway at the Randy D. Doub U.S. Courthouse. The Honorable Joseph Callaway has now presided over 3 hearings which began on December 5, 2023 for claims that are being disputed by Trustees of the Settlement. The reasons for these disputed claims included applications being received by Omni Solutions after the original deadline of December 12, 2022, the failure of claimants to show proof of their eligibility to receive payments, and the need for selected claimants to verify their 2000-2004 marketed poundage.

On December 5, 2023, Jerrin R. Hall, Vice President of client solicitation for Omni Solutions gave testimony to the court that outlined the process for receiving claims applications. Mr. Hall said that during the period that Omni Solutions received these applications, there were 5 to 30 employees who provided assistance to those who submitted an application. It has been estimated that about 19,000 claims applications were received by Omni Solutions in Woodland Hills, Calif. and 1,567 were received after the specified deadline. Judge Callaway extended the deadline by one week to December 17, 2022 which permitted some forms to be accepted into the process. The deadline for the transmission of electronic forms to be accepted was extended by 3 days.

On December 12, 2023, claimants whose claims were being disputed based on unsubstantiated poundage for 2000-2004 were invited to speak privately to trustees. Trustee Alan Runyan addressed the audience and discussed how those claimants who were in attendance would be invited to provide documentation which could substantiate poundage claims.

Verifying marketing pounds from the production years of 2000-2004 poses the greatest challenge to some growers and former quota holders due to the limited availability of production records. Those whose claims are being challenged on this basis should pursue old tobacco bills of sales, tobacco marketing cards, FSA orderly summaries, and TTPP records (FSA Tobacco Transition Payments) as possible sources.

On January 16, 2024, Judge Callaway allowed 9 unscheduled claimants to present information to Trustees in order to verify disputed poundage for the production years of 2000-2004. Private sessions were held between Trustees and former quota holders in order for this information to be considered.


I have been in communication with Mr. Leon Murphy, FSA County Executive Director regarding the availability of TTPP records. These records are considered to be legitimate documentation of previous tobacco marketed poundage for the 2000-2004 production years. Mr. Murphy has agreed to make these available to former quota holders and heirs upon request. These records may be the only available source to verify marketed tobacco pounds from 2000-2004.


Payments from the Lewis Settlement will be based on a mathematical formula which will be based on the final number of claims and allocated funds to be dispersed. The highest level of payments from this settlement is expected to come from payments that were made to the Flue-Cured Tobacco Stabilization Corporation during the years of 1982 through 2004 after the implementation of the Tobacco No Net Cost Program. Claimants for production before the No-Net Cost Program should expect to receive smaller financial disbursements ($10-100 per claim). Past quota holders and farmers who produced tobacco after 1982 could receive higher payments for the period of 1982-2004 . Payments can only be finalized after all disputed claims have been resolved. Payments could possibly begin to be mailed during the spring of 2024.


Two dates remain for the purpose of resolving disputed claims. These remaining hearing dates include January 25 and February 6, 2024 with additional hearing dates to be announced as needed.

Hearings are held at the Randy D. Doub U.S. Courthouse which is located at 150 Reade Circle in Greenville, N.C. Parking is limited but the 5 Points Public Parking Lot is available just north of Shepherd Memorial Library. A small fee may be required to be paid via a phone app. A few handicapped parking places are available just behind the court house at 200 W. Eighth Street in Greenville.