This site deals only with the corporate corruption of science, and makes no inference about the motives or activities of individuals involved.
There are many reasons why individuals become embroiled in corporate corruption activities - from political zealotry to over-enthusiastic activism; from gullibility to greed.
Please read the OVERVIEW carefully, and make up your own mind.
Smoking Gun Document
Torts are a wrongful acts or an infringement of a right (other than under contract) which can lead to legal liability, such as damages. They are not 'criminal' in nature, so they only come before the court when a 'plaintiff' files a lawsuit asserting negligence or wilful-harm (etc.). They will specify one or more defendants (usually companies in tort-reform terms) as the cause of the harm.
The battle to 'reform' the tort laws in America and around the world, is still being carried on by battalions of lawyers, lobbyists and political-issues executives in many companies, not just in the tobacco industry ... and by their well-funded allies in the think-tank industry.
A number of different think-tanks and special purpose organisations (some supposedly 'grassroots') have become involved directly in tort-reform. They are generally fighting to make the standards of proof of product liability very difficult to achieve, and to make it difficult for injured consumers to join together in 'class-action' suits. They also want to limit damages in various wasy, with particular emphasis on blocking 'punitive damages' which juries in some countries/states can award to punish companies for unconscientionable conduct.
ATRA. American Tort Reform Association was the most obvious of the 'grassroots' groups, and it had numerous subsidiaries with names similar to CALA — Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. The tobacco industry virtually controlled ATRA after 1993, and its PR company APCO & Associates, create many of the US State CALAs. Tiger Joice and Neal Cohen (APCO) virtually ran ATRA.
[Don't confuse with ATLA, which was the opposing plaintiff lawyers association]
PLCC. Product Liability Coordination Committee was run by Victor E Schwartz, a lawyer-lobbyist with Crowell & Moring. They also had the Consumer Products Tort Coalition and worked closely with the tobacco industry and ATRA.
The American Law Institute also had Schwartz on its Advisory Committee for the Restatement of Torts (Third) Products Liability and Apportionment of Liability committee.
CEASS, Coalition to Eliminate Abusinve Securities Suits. This group had Philip Morris as a member and ...
a securities suit brought against PM in the wake of Marlboro Friday that was recently dismissed as frivolous by a federal district court judge, has been one of the principal cases used by proponents to demonstrate to Members of Congress why significant reforms are needed.
CJRG. The Civil Justice Reform Group was discussed in a June 2003 June Congress Watch article on Torts, which said it was....
.... a business alliance comprising general counsels from Fortune 100 firms, [Ford, GM, Exxon, Texaco, AT&T, Pfizer, which were] instrumental in drafting the class-action bill and has committed five lobbyists to the effort.
These groups are merely the most visible part of a vast network of groups, deeply rooted in the Republican Party, that are aiming to block consumers access to the courts.
For instance, Citizens for a Sound Economy [CSE - now FreedomWorks], an advocacy group co-chaired by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, joined Citizens for Civil Justice Reform (CCJR) and the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) last year at a legal reform summit sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.
The wider use of the term "Tort Reform" also extended to actions bought on securities grounds (misleading investors), and applied to questions like the 'Statute of Limitations", contingency fees (paid only when the case is successful), assumption of risk (is the smoker responsible if he is addicted?), protective orders and the rights to discover confidential agreements. See http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/jir67d00/pdf
1995 Jan 26: David Nicoli [a lawyer working as a lobbyist] who ran the Washington lobbying office of Philip Morris, has sent his superiors in New York the January 1995 Monthly Activities Report of his staff.
They are working with a coalition of companies and contractors on 'Tort Reform', — a corporate euphemism for changing legislation to make it more difficult for customers and injured citizens to get substantial damages.
[This is the second part of this document. There are actually two different major project reports here — see FDA and Kessler for the first part.]
He is reporting to Kathleen Linehan (known as 'Buffy') one of the industry's key disinformation strategists, who, as.Vice President of Government Affairs, worked under Craig Fuller in Corporate Affairs head office.
II. TORT REFORM
- Worked with Dirk Van Dongen via phone; got 25K to PLCC to do ATLA/FEC study. Completion date set for late-February or early March.
[Van Dongen was president of National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors.
He was persuaded to give $25,000 towards the Product Liability Coordination Committee (PLCC) to fund a report on the [supposed corrupt] links between the American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA - lawyers who sued companies) and Clinton's appointments to the Federal Electoral Commission. The FEC regulated campaign contributions (ie to the Democratic Party from the trial 'plaintiff' lawyers.)]
- DPN [Nicoli] arranged 1/3/95 conference call with Victor [Schwartz] and RJR [RJ Reynolds Tobacco] to temper RJR tort reform lobbying efforts.
[Victor Schwartz, a lawyer-lobbyist, ran one of three major corporate tort-reform organisations — the PLCC. Philip Morris was in the process of taking over ATRA which worked with the PLCC while RJR favoured the PLCC]
- Met with ATRA President Tiger Joyce re federal tort reform, PM help.
[ Sherman 'Tiger' Joyce (lawyer and Republican Congressional aide) founded the American Tort Refom Association for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAW) supposedly as a 'grassroots' citizens action group. By late 1994 the Board members were all tobacco industry staffers or consultants, and it was being run via APCO, Philip Morris's private PR company.]
- Met with Dirk Van Dongen re federal tort reform PM help.
- Meeting with [Gary] Slaiman on 1/6/95 to bring him on board to double-check on Victor [Schwartz] after [Charles 'Chuck'] Wall expresses concern.
[ Slaiman was a lawyer-lobbyist who had been chief counsel to both the Senate Labor and Human Resources Subcommittee on Labor, and the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust]
Charles 'Chuck' Wall was a tobacco industry lawyer who worked inhouse for Philip Morris]
- [David] Nicoli works with [Gary] Slaiman to produce broad strategy memo that is sent to [Chuck] Wall on 1/12/95. Memo essentially confirms Victor [Schwartz]'s views, but is a bit more aggressive in tone.
- As result of good [Tim] Scully suggestion, Victor [Schwartz], DPN [Nicoli], Scully and [Paul] Carothers hold conference call to see if Miller and KGF [Kraft - General Foods, owned by PM) can help lobby tort reform on basis of their own experiences. Answer is in affirmative.
[Paul Carothers was KFG/PM's VP Government Affairs); Timothy Scully was the Director of Washington Relations for Millers Brewing. KFG and Millers were both Philip Morris subsidiaries.]
- Carothers and Scully working with their respective General Counsels to develop stories and action plan. [Chuck] Wall extremely pleased.
- DPN/Scully/Carothers complete PM "facility" analysis for key Members on tort reform committees to help us target our efforts. Victor [Schwartz] prioritizes need for lobbying efforts on business community's behalf, which we merge with "facility" analysis. (Attachment #8).
[Schwartz was also industry representative on the board of ATRA.]
- [Gary] Slaiman covers 1/19/95 Securities litigation reform hearing before Field's Commerce Subcommittee. Report to NY [New York Corporate Affairs office of PM].
- DPN [Nicoli] monitors internecine warfare in business community over leaderships/objectives of tort reform effort.
[The industry groups were fighting over the primacy of their coalitions]
- DPN [Nicoli] attends meeting representing PM along with Dan Donohue from RJR[eynolds] and Covington's Keith Teel with Civil Justice Reform Group, new kid on block trying to displace PLCC. DPN gives highly negative report of group to [Chuck] Wall, which is backed up by Teel, Slaiman, and other political intelligence.
[Keith Teel of Covington & Burling was one of the top outside legal counsels for the tobacco industry.
While the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) and the Product Liability Coordinating Committee (PLCC) — were all funded by the same powerful companies Aetna, Eli Lilly, Monsanto, Dow, Philip Morris, Humana, General Motors, Dupont, Metropolitan Life, and many others via the Chamber of Commerce, this new third group, the Civil Justice Reform Group, was made up of the in-house lawyers from forty of the biggest US corporations — each of whom has to pay $100,000 to join. This group would not have been controllable by the tobacco companies.]
- DPN recommends that we give 50K to PLCC, which [Chuck] Wall and [Tina] Flournoy agree with. Further financial support contingent on 1/26/95 strategy meeting with [Murray] Bring/Wall in NY.
[They planned to support Victor Schwartz's group with a further $50,000 donation (in addition to their own control and funding of ATRA — other tobacco companies would have given similar amounts).
Tina Flournoy was with PM Corporate Affairs, and had strong political connections in the Clinton White House.
Murray Bring was the top legal counsel and executive for Philip Morris. Obviously they needed top legal clearance for being involved in these activities.]
- DPN [Nicoli] working with [Marc] Firestone, Sonia [Fois], and WLF to develop factual material for trial lawyer oversight hearings this year per Bring's request. Victor [Schwartz] continues efforts to interest Republican leadership, with progress made to date. Effort aided by John Stossel "20/20" piece broadcast on 1/13/95.
[ Marc Fireston was Senior VP of Philip Morris's Worldwide Regulatory Affairs division.
Sonia Fois was a lawyer with Arnold & Porter, doing tobacco legal work.
WLF, the infamous Washington Legal Foundation, operated as a pro-corporate watchdog and lobbyshop.
John Stossel was the tobacco-friendly anchor of an ABC TV current affairs program.]
- DPN continues working with Victor and ATRA to move multiples bill [Sen. Orrin] Hatch (R-UT) will introduce, but key efforts now focus on getting Democratic co-sponsors and on determining whether multiples can be put in Senate products bill and/or House's HR 10. Progress being made.
[ Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah (Chairman of the Judiciary Committee) had agreed to sponsor a bill (known in the House as HR 10 and Senate as S343), limiting punative damages claims; this bill became part of the "Contract with America". It was later reported that Hatch's PAC had received $11,400 for his friendship. See the Update, below]
- DPN attends 1/26/95 NY meeting with Bring, Wall, Firestone, Flournoy, [Craig] Fuller, Neal Cohen [of APCO/ATRA], Keith Teel [Covington & Burling] re federal/state tort reform strategies and grassroots/financial efforts to accompany same. Agenda I prepared for meeting is Attachment #9. DPN agenda focuses on realistic federal goals on offense, and protecting ourselves defensively during floor consideration.
[ Craig Fuller was the head of the corporate disinformation pyramid at PM at this time.
Neal Cohen ran the ATRA and other scams for Philip Morris through APCO & Associates.
Keith Teel at Covington & Burling was always involved in these activities.]
- DPN attends 1/27/95 meeting on tort reform at TI [Tobacco Institute]. Wall/Nicoli pre-meet with RJR to coordinate efforts. TI meeting focus is on state tort reform, but federal is discussed.
[Note Philip Morris and Reynolds are conspiring to control when the other cigarette companies are not present.]
1995 Feb 1: David Nicoli produced a Tort Reform Update which was sent to Chuck Wall, Marc Firestone, Tina Flournow, Craig Fuller and Kathleen Linehan.
There are several developments concerning this issue which Buffy [Kathleen Linehan] and I need to make you aware of:
- According to Victor [Schwarts], as of last night, it appears that Senator [Orrin] Hatch will include the multiples provision in a tort reform bill he is preparing for introduction. You may have seen the WSJ [Wall Street Journal] article yesterday that discussed his plans generally.
The bill will also include "attorney accountability" provisions that can serve as a basis for turning the spotlight on abusive trial lawyer practices [attacking the class-action plaintiff lawyers]; punitive damage reforms beyond multiples [multiples are when punative damages are awarded in more than one state] such as a "proportionality" provision and a higher std [standard] of proof; and other provisions on fraudulent joinders, Rule 11 and perhaps reform of the joint and several liability doctrine.
- Victor continues to work on getting multiples in the Hyde substitute for HR 10 in the House and in the PLCC bill in the Senate that Gorton/Rockefeller are developing. The sledding is tougher here due to the Repubs desire to stick to the contract terms in the House and Gorton/Rockefellers' inclination to stick close to the line of last year's bill.
Nonetheless, Victor knows this is a top priority and is working it hard, as is ATRA, the prime federal mover on this provision. We are examining which Members we can go to ourselves to give this a boost.
- At our request, Victor is working on a business community grassroots/communications target list that will serve as the initial guide for Neal Cohen's [APCO PR activities via the CALAs] efforts. Victor understands the time-sensitive nature of this task and we have directed Neal to call Victor in order to ensure Neal gets the specific info he needs in the format he needs.
- We are setting up a meeting next week w/David Brown from Monsanto, who is the head of the PLCC Finance Committee that directs PLCC's efforts. This will be to get KGF [the PM food subsidiary, Kraft General Foods] on the Committee and otherwise start to integrate our views and concerns as well as resources into the PLCC process.
[Most of the other members of the PLCC didn't want to be openly associated with tobacco companies]
- We have called the political head of the CEASS effort (securities litigation reform group) and signed PM on to the coalition, since we were in it last year and because our recent case has become one of the principal poster children for the reform effort. We will be following up to see where PM may constuctively engage in this effort.
- Victor, Marc, Sonia, and I will meet next Tuesday to continue developing facts for possible ATLA-based hearings and to check the progress/take further steps on Victor's efforts to convince the proper staff /Members on the desirability for such hearings.
[They were trying to convince Republican members of Congress to hold hearings on the donations of plaintiff lawyers (the ATLA) to the Democrats in the previous election as a way of putting them under pressure.]
- We are meeting w/CSE tomorrow to review their federal tort reform plans, help them coordinate their grassroots/communications efforts w/Neal's efforts, and otherwise try to make an assessment of what further resources they may need, if any, from the business community.
[The Citizens for a Sound Economy think-tank (now called FreedomWorks) was run at this time by C Boyden Gray, a Republican White House counsel and heir to the RJ Reynolds tobacco fortune. They worked closely with Neal Cohen through APCO and ATRA.]
The amount spent on tort reform was extraordinary. For instance in the year ending December 1993 RJ Reynolds, very much a second player to Philip Morris, had special lobbyists working in most states. They were also directly funding (between $10k and $20k ea)
[Philip Morris handled the states which had CALAs - Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, astroturf operations]
- Alabama Civil Justice Reform Committee.
- The Association for California Tort Reform
- Louisianans for Lawsuit Reform
- Massachusettts Coalition for a Fair Legal System
- Maryland Civil Justice Coalition
- Mississippi Business & Industrial Political Education Inc.
- Mississippians for a Fair Legal System,
- Product Liability Task Force of Mississippi
- Texas Civil Justice League
- American Tort Reform Association (ATRA)
- Crowell & Morin (actually PLCC).
Reynolds also spent millions on top lawyers in each state to lobby for legislative change.
See also a Philip Morris planning document for the "Federal Tort Reform Agenda" which lists many pieces of legislation that they either plan to introduce or need to modify, in order to chip away at the public's product liability rights.
Also a report from David Nicoli about the passage through the House of a product liability bill which had been promoted by the Washington Business RoundTable (BRT - corporate executives). Philip Morris had given the BRT $100,000 (He doesn't mention the probable equal contribution from RJ Reynolds)
Henry Waxman had attempted to block the bill, but now it was up to the Senate and then to President Clinton signing it into law.
[WRO is Washington Regulatory Office of Philip Morris — the group of political lobbyists who bribed the Congressmen]