U.S. cigarette makers and anti-tobacco groups resumed landmark negotiations to settle health-related lawsuits, according to people involved in the talks. Anti-tobacco groups--including several of the 23 state attorneys general suing tobacco companies, public-health groups and attorneys for smokers allegedly addicted to cigarettes--spoke with attorneys representing cigarette makers Philip Morris Cos., RJR Nabisco Holdings Corp. and Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., a unit of BAT Industries. The talks are being held at the Chicago offices of Kirkland & Ellis, which represents Brown & Williamson. "This could probably be a laborious process," said Mississippi Atty. Gen. Michael Moore, who is leading the talks on behalf of the 23 states suing the tobacco industry. Sunday's talks are focusing on the degree of immunity from future lawsuits that tobacco companies will receive in return for settling current suits and agreeing to a host of demands from government agencies, according to two people involved in the talks.
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