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James R (Jim) Cherry
Vice President and general legal counsel to Lorrilard Tobacco in the 1990s. He appears to have tied his legal career to Lorillard for most of his life, rising from the ranks of a general purpose in-house lawyer, through providing litigation services, to become one of the small cabal of lawyers called the 'Committee of Counsel' which effectively controlled most of the more disreputable aspects of the industry in the 1990s.
Jim Cherry joined Lorillard in 1967 as a general-purpose inhouse lawyer providing legal opinions about cigarette advertising codes (tar and nicotine disclosures), patents, prices and wages etc. ... the normal work of any general corporation lawyer.
In the late 1970s he advanced to working with Arthur J Stevens in some of the tobacco industry's light-weight disinformation programs, such as the Tobacco Action Network (known as TAN, etc). By the late 1980s, he was Lorillard's representative on the lawyer's division of the tobacco industry's Ad Hoc Tort-reform Committee trying to lobby politically to reduce the potential risks the cigarette companies faced with product liability laws.
Since the law accorded lawyers the special privileges of confidentiality in their dealings with clients, the in-house and external cigarette company lawyers were able to conspire with each other behind this legal smoke screen in ways that would have had normal executives charged under the anti-trust laws.
CippoloneIn 1990-92 he became involved in the famous litigation case of Cippolone which was a part-win — but also the first major legal setback — for the tobacco companies. Due to some judicial rulings in the case, the way was open for the release of thousands of highly incriminating documents, and so the tobacco companies now faced even greater legal problems.
In this case, Marc Edell , the plaintiff lawyer, introduced the idea that lawyers collaborating with tobacco company executives were part of the conspiracy — and therefore no longer had the privilege of hiding behind attorney-client privilege. This was an important breakthrough.
However for a while this ruling had the opposite effect: it forced the companies to regroup and to co-operate more than they had before [which eventually bought them into conflict with anti-trust laws, and left them facing RICO charges].
However the legal scare meant that, in most of the cigarette companies, lawyers like Cherry and Steve Parrish (at Philip Morris) moved to the forefront of executive ranks. The tobacco industry, thereafter, was essentially run under the guidance of lawyers.
Committee of Counsel. Cherry didn't make it to the very top of Lorillard, but in the 1990s he became Lorillard's representative on the infamous 'Committee of Counsel' which directed and controlled Smoking and Health research grants and virtually ran the tobacco industry's research program for many years.
It later became obvious that the lawyers on this committee were no longer providing genuine legal counsel to company executives but were co-conspirators with them.
• lawyer John S Cherry Jr. of the Little Rock, Arkansas, law firm Barber McCaskill Jones and Hale who also acted for Lorillard. [possibly a son or relative]
• Or with the physician and professor of pediatrics at UCLA who promoted vaccines.
James R Cherry, Jr. was initially employed by Lorillard as Associate General Counsel and served as Vice President from 1989 to 1993 and then again in 1995; served as Legal Counsel in 1993 and then again in 1995. [ref: Tobaccodocuments.org]
1979 June 15: Lorillard wanted a 1978 rate card from TI for the Washington Informer. [First dated document in archives.]
1979 June 25: He is now in charge of Lorillard's Tobacco Action Network (TAN) which aims to use industry employees and their families for grassroots lobbying of State and Federal representatives and senators. This operation was coordinated by the Tobacco Institute.
1979 July 2: Advising Arthur Stevens [Lorillard's senior in-house counsel and senior executive] that staff members needed to be taught about the Tobacco Institute's TAN operations. He is now part of the disinformation executive group within the company.
1981 Sep 10: he is now a member of the Committee of General Counsel reviewing the research that the CTR will support, and determining which will pass through the system in the normal way, and which will be passed for the lawyers support through the lawyer-controlled Special Account #4. This is the secret account used by the tobacco industry to launder payments to scientists and witnesses.
See deposition p9
1987 Jan 21: His title is now Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Lorillard, and he is the company's representative on an industry Coalition on Product Liability Reform.
|Other Tobacco Industry Representatives
- Fred Newman (General Counsel - Philip Morris),
- Joe Helewicz (Corporate Communications at BAT/B&W),
- Ellen Harrow, (also Associate General Counsel, Lorillard)
- George Knox (PM public relations),
- John Scanlon (Lorillard - then B&W press manipulator), and
- Robert H Sachs, ('Bob' —VP and Gen Counsel at B&W)
1988–90: Jim Cherry was one of three top legal executives at Lorrilard along with Arthur Steven and Ellen Harrow .
In the tobacco archives it is noticeable that the files of all three have been thoroughly culled of meaningful documents. For instance, Vic Han then working for public relations company Burson-Marsteller , regularly sent all three multiple-page copies of 'stories' (presumably media monitoring) ... and these have disappeared from all three sets of files ... except for the cover page.
See typical example:
1989 Jan 16: Cherry is being ccd on material from the tobacco industry's 'Ad Hoc Tort-Reform Committee'. This is legal advice on some tort-reform matter. (Documents are still confidential.)
1993 Feb 10: Advise about the agenda for a Committee of Counsel meeting
1994 Apr 26: Cippolone case. Deposition of Curtis Judge, one of the top executives at Lorillard.
1996 April 25: Cherry is still listed as Vice President and Deputy General Counsel. He is reporting on company success in a case over the "original Kent filter" which was unfortunately made of asbestos fibres,
1997 Oct 16: He is involved in the defense of Lorillard in the case of State of Washington vs. Tobacco Industry.