ABA Journal on tobacco settlement

by Walter Olson on June 13, 2007

The piece’s subtitle: “How greed, hubris and high-stakes lobbying laid waste to the $246 billion tobacco settlement”. Without necessarily endorsing every point in the piece — this is the ABA Journal, after all — it’s still striking how what was once a lonely critique of the settlement has now been accepted as history’s verdict:

The only big winners in the litigation appear to be the tobacco companies, the state treasurers and the lawyers who represented both sides….

…$15 billion has been awarded to the private lawyers hired by the state attorneys general. That’s the largest attorney fee award in history. More than $100 million — Big Tobacco won’t say precisely how much — has been paid to the lawyers defending the companies.

“The tobacco litigation was a failure of historic proportions,” says Linda Eads, a law professor at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law in Dallas. “A complete and utter failure in every sense.”

(Mark Curriden, “Up in Smoke”, ABA Journal, March).

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06.27.08 at 2:25 pm


1 Deoxy 06.13.07 at 10:13 am

Anyone with half a brain cell left would answer Linda Eads: “I knew that when it happened. I expected it before it happened. DUH.”

2 Ron Coleman 06.13.07 at 1:43 pm

There is simply no scenario where it could be ethical for lawyers to earn those fees, especially when the retentions were doled out by government entities.

3 Deoxy 06.13.07 at 4:38 pm


Ethics and the tobacco judgement never met.

I’m not sure they’ve ever even been on the same planet.

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