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Cornered: Big Tobacco At The Bar Of Justice

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by Peter Pringle
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Cornered: Big Tobacco At The Bar Of Justice by Peter Pringle

In New Orleans, the widow of an attorney who died of lung cancer vowed to avenge his death by suing the tobacco companies. In Clarksdale, Mississippi, an outraged country lawyer discovered the cost of lung cancer care as his secretary's mother lay dying. In Washington, D.C., a young pediatrician became the first FDA administrator in ninety years to decide nicotine should be regulated as a drug. All three were warned: Don't mess with Big Tobacco.

Then a $9-an-hour law clerk in Louisville, Kentucky, stole thousands of incriminating tobacco company documents. Suddenly, an untouchable industry was under siege. In the vanguard of the attack were the nation's toughest liability lawyers. Thirty-nine states would ultimately join the battle, seeking billions of Midicaid dollars spent on tobacco-related diseases. The costliest civil litigation in history had begun.

The $50 billion tobacco industry had finally met its match. Motivated as much by anger as by greed, liability lawyers with noms de guerre like "the Aspestos Avenger" and "the Master of Disaster" outflanked and outsmarted the once invincible legal armies of Big Tobacco. In 1994, sixty of these lawyers came together, pooling their talents, their time, and their war chests to launch a ferocious nationwide assault. At the same time, they provided the legal muscle behind the state suits. Three years later, they had forced the industry to the negotiating table. The result is a $368 billion deal that will eventually change the way Big Tobacco does business.

Cornered is the first full account of this unprecedented legal battle. It uses confidential memos to explain how the companies avoided government regulation and legal redress for so many years. It moves from the early skirmishes in rural Mississippi to strategy sessions in the back rooms of New Orleans restaurants, from a warehouses in England stuffed with 9 million company documents to the corridors of power in the nation's capital. It follows the whistle-blowers who laid bare the evidence that made the litigtion possible, and it winds through the offices of the state attorneys general whose Medicaid lawsuits lent a halo of respectability to the "yunkyard dogs" of liability law. It is a tale at once dramatic, funny, and enraging. In the end, it is proof that the plaintiff's bar can initiate social change, even as it loots the coffers of corporate rascals.

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Ebook Details
Pages: 52
Size: 402 KB
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Date published:   2014
ISBN: 9781466881587 (DRM-EPUB)

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