Big Tobacco has recently agreed to pay over $6 million to settle claims with the US Department of Justice.
A summary of the conduct causing the $6 million payment?
US district Court Judge Gladys Kessler, after hearing mountains of evidence, says this about the tobacco corporations:
- They lied.
- They misrepresented the truth.
- They deceived.
- They concealed.
- They destroyed documents.
- They distorted the truth.
- They abused the legal system.
They conspired to keep away from the public scrutiny documents that demonstrate “smoking’s negative health effects, nicotine addiction, and altered cigarette design to increase addiction, light- and low-tar cigarettes and marketing to young consumers”.
Judge Kessler went on to say:
“In short, defendants have marketed and sold their lethal product with zeal, with deception, with a single-minded focus on their financial success, and without regard for the human tragedy or social costs that success exacted”.
But, Big Tobacco did not act alone. Judge Kessler also had comments about Tobacco’s lawyers: they “played an absolutely central role in the creation and perpetuation of the enterprise and the implementation of its fraudulent schemes”.
These findings and Big Tobacco’s willingness to pay millions in order to avoid an airing of the evidence in a court of law come as no surprise to attorneys who have had to litigate against them. Simply reviewing the tobacco documents that have not been destroyed or hidden by Big Tobacco leads to only one conclusion. The tobacco industry has spent a hundred years perfecting a talent for hiding the truth and spinning facts to a point that fact becomes fiction.
Big Tobacco wrote the playbook for all other corporations who have held “shredding parties” and data dumping get-togethers in order to hide their wrongdoing.