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Tobacco

Zig-Zag Owners Settle Counterfeit Rolling Paper Lawsuit

National Tobacco Co. wins injunction, payment from Indiana retailers

WASHINGTON -- In a case of alleged counterfeit production and sale of Zig-Zag-branded cigarette papers, the owners of the brand obtained a permanent injunction and lump-sum payment of “several hundred-thousand dollars” for attorneys’ fees, investigator costs and statutory damages in a settlement and subsequent dismissal of the lawsuit, according to the plaintiffs.

The case involved New York-based North Atlantic Operating Co. Inc. (NAOC) and Louisville, Ky.-based National Tobacco Co. LP, which filed the lawsuit against more than a dozen named individuals and businesses located mostly in Fort Wayne, Ind. The case, filed in the Northern District of Indiana courts, essentially involved three individuals operating a dozen retail stores and one wholesale distributor, according to a press release.

Working with Venable LLP, a Washington, D.C.-based legal firm, NAOC and National Tobacco uncovered activity in 2016 that led to an investigation in which individuals sold dozens of fake products to undercover investigators, the companies said.

“This effort, coupled with additional legal actions and raids, signals our vigilance to those that knowingly participate in counterfeit activities,” said James Dobbins, general counsel for NAOC. “In addition to protecting an important revenue stream for the company, pursuing counterfeiters of the Zig-Zag papers protects our long-standing brand reputation and protects our consumers’ trust. No infraction is too small—whether online or in stores—for us to pursue.”

Legal documents named the following individuals and companies as defendants: KPC Distributor Inc.; Kuldeep Singh; Paramjit Singh; Charanjit Singh; Burger’s Inc., dba Burger Dairy; JGM Stores Inc., dba Burger Dairy II; Kiran Deep Inc., dba Crescent Corner Express; KSL Stores Inc., dba Get 2 Go #10; KSL Holdings Inc., dba Get 2 Go #13; Coliseum Quick Mart Inc., aka Get 2 Go #15; Calhoun Store Inc., aka Get 2 Go 16; KPC Brothers Inc., aka Get 2 Go 17, dba Get 2 Go; Get 2 Go 18; Virk Brothers Enterprises Inc., aka Get 2 Go 19, dba Shell Get 2 Go #19; JAT Boyz Stores Inc., aka Harlan Quick Stop; and KPC Investments LLC, aka Iceway Express. There was no determination of guilt in the settlement.

The Venable team advising NAOC included New York-based partner Marci Ballard and associates Victoria Danta and Maria Sinatra. LeAnne Moore, assistant general counsel for NAOC, led its internal team.

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