The St Petersburg Times published an article today with a very well written and poignant story about a victim of Big Tobacco.
The story was about the progressive illness and death of a popular area TV personality, John Eastman. He was known as the dean of Tampa Bay talk radio. It is a story that is unfortunately very typical of many smoking victims. Mr. Eastman began smoking at the age of 12 because everyone his age was smoking; it was the cool thing to do. His addiction developed into a four pack a day habit and he believed those ads that told him smoking was “good” for his throat: “Philip Morris’ superiority for the nose and throat is RECOGNIZED by eminent medical authorities; no other cigarette can make that statement” (quoted from Philip Morris ad” . His career ended when those very cigarettes that Big Tobacco promised were good for his throat, took his professional voice away.
Our thoughts go out to Mr. Eastman’s sons for the untimely loss of their father at the hands of Big Tobacco.
I want to add, however, some information not mentioned in the article. This is information about the attorney who fought many years to achieve justice for Mr. Eastman. That attorney was Howard Acosta; he faced the “scorched earth” tactics employed by Big Tobacco’s lawyers and he won justice for his client. When most attorneys would not or could not take on the juggernaut of Big Tobacco’s well funded defense lawyers, Howard Acosta beat them back and gave his client some amount of comfort in his last days.
Howard Acosta has been practicing law and defending the rights of injured victims for 29 years. He has not stood on the sidelines of difficult fights; he has entered the fray against very formidable adversaries. Big Tobacco has been known to spend millions of dollars on just one plaintiff’s lawsuit in an effort at grinding the plaintiff or his attorney into submission. This is not litigation for the faint hearted.
On behalf of our clients and all the other thousands of plaintiffs who will now go forward and lay siege to Big Tobacco’s “machine”, we wanted to express our thanks to Mr. Acosta for helping to lay the ground work of this battle. Big Tobacco will undoubtedly employ similar tactics as they have in the past and try to wear down the plaintiffs and their attorneys. We take note of the accomplishments of lawyers who have stood against them in the past. We are pleased to wage this fight on behalf of our clients and to be given the opportunity to to wage a war that attorneys like Mr. Acosta began.