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NC justices: Court went too far ruling over Smithfield money

"Courtroom One Gavel" by Joe Gratz is marked with CC0 1.0

North Carolina's highest court says a lower court panel jumped the gun by acting further in a case than what the Supreme Court ruled on in 2020 over payments made by Smithfield Foods. The justices decided Friday that a Court of Appeals panel erred by ruling Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein had to deposit the Smithfield money into the state’s coffers. The company pays up to $2 million annually as part of a 2000 agreement. The Supreme Court says the Court of Appeals was addressing claims beyond an earlier complaint. Critics of the agreement don't believe the attorney general should have control over the funds.