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).
Anyone with half a brain cell left would answer Linda Eads: “I knew that when it happened. I expected it before it happened. DUH.”
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.
Ethics and the tobacco judgement never met.
I’m not sure they’ve ever even been on the same planet.
[…] consumers got ripped off by those settlements, how corrupt trial lawyers like Scruggs collectively received more than $15 billion (not million, billion) for helping to rip-off the public, and how states are misusing the money they collected under the settlements. addthis_url = […]