TOBACCO INDUSTRY: VOWS TO CEASE SEPARATE SETTLEMENTS
In what "looked to some like an effort to push Washington toThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
approve a national settlement," tobacco industry officials said
yesterday they will no longer settle individual lawsuits filed
against the industry by the states, USA Today reports. Following
a hearing on Texas' $14 billion suit against the industry, Dan
Webb, the lead attorney for cigarette makers, said, "The tobacco
companies are either going to get the global resolution or we'll
go to trial one state at a time, starting in Texas" (Levy, 9/9).
Reuters/Philadelphia Inquirer reports that [e]xecutives from the
top five U.S. tobacco companies" told the federal judge
overseeing the Texas case that they "would not settle out of
court with Texas despite" the recently announced settlements with
Florida and Mississippi (Murray, 9/9).
REMEMBER THE ALAMO!
Clifford Douglas, an attorney for states suing tobacco
companies, said of the announcement, "The industry is playing
hard-ball rhetorically in an effort to jump-start the stalled
settlement effort at the White House and on Capitol Hill."
The Texas suit is scheduled to go to trial September 29, but
Texas' attorneys have asked for a 30-day delay in the trial, a
postponement that USA Today notes "could push settlement talks
back until after both the White House and Congress begin earnest
work on the national deal" (9/9). However, Texas Attorney
General Dan Morales (D) said yesterday the state has not entered
into negotiations with the industry and that he believes the case
will go to trial. "This forum is going to provide a unique
opportunity ... to hold this industry accountable for the last 40
years of their illegal activities," he said.
Reuters/Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the industry believes
it has a strong case in Texas and "is confident it can send a
powerful message to the states and Congress if it wins." Noting
the Texas case would be heard by a jury -- unlike the Mississippi
case -- and that Texas lacks laws restricting the industry's
traditional legal defense -- unlike Florida -- one industry
source said, "This is the one we wanted to take to trial. It is
one we are convinced we can win" (9/9).
SAN FRANCISCO SETTLEMENT
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. agreed yesterday to settle
litigation filed by "San Francisco and 13 other California cities
and counties that have accused the company of aiming sales
pitches at minors," San Francisco Chronicle reports. The
nation's second-largest cigarette manufacturer will pay $10
million to settle the claims, $9 million of which will fund anti-
smoking advertising and enforcement activities. San Francisco,
Los Angeles and San Jose will each receive $1.5 million for these
activities. In announcing the settlement, San Francisco City
Attorney Louise Renne said, "Joe Camel in California is dead.
The death certificate is officially issued" (Doyle, 9/9).