Fletcher, et al.,
v. Case No. 97-913
Brooke Group, Ltd., Liggett Group Inc,
and Liggett & Myers, Inc.,
The undersigned, in pro per, offers the following comments pursuant to the notice
circulated nationwide and on the Internet, http://www.liggett.net.
1. I am the person who helped lead the way for the tobacco cost recovery litigation in
the first place. I authored the first paper, in 1980, to show that tobacco effects cost the
U.S. over $130 billion that year alone. The text of my paper, "Are You Missing
$omething," Smoke Signals, Vol 26, p 4 (Oct 1980) is Exhibit 1. Back then, there were
pro-tobacco apologists actually denying that tobacco costs taxpayers' money! My
authoritative paper refuted that disinformation, and others did subsequent verifying
studies. I thus helped lead the way to the taxpayer recovery process underway.
2. I was exposed to cigarette smoke and am suffering resultant economic loss due to
treatment of conditions caused thereby. I support some portions of the settlement as
publicly described, summarized as Liggett's plan to comply with FDA regulations,
acknowledge nicotine's addictiveness and smoking's adverse health effects, cooperate in
lawsuits against other cigarette manufacturers, and attempt to provide financial redress.
3. However, cigarettes are illegal in Michigan, as Exhibits 2-6 show. The proposed
settlement fails in the comity owed other states pursuant to the U.S. Constitution to
respect their laws, in failing to provide for a court order banning Defendants from violating
4. Providing the means of death, when deaths are "natural and probable
consequences," hence, in law, intended, is also illegal pursuant to the common law, as
upheld by the Michigan Supreme Court in People v Kevorkian, 447 Mich 436, 494-6; 527
NW2d 714, 738-9 (1994). The common law, extant nationwide unless expressly repealed,
is not enforced in this proposed settlement.
5. Action to sell cigarettes (the means of death) overseas violates provisions of the
laws of nations, and of international law, pursuant to treaties against genocide and other
defined offenses. Exhibit 5. These laws are also not enforced in the proposed settlement.
6. It is essential that the settlement not limit Liggett's cooperation to civil law, but
also cover criminal law, and not limit admissions to mere addictiveness and health effects,
but also mandate admissions with respects to cigarettes' role in alcoholism, suicide, drug
abuse, abortion, AIDS, Alzheimers' and dementia, and all other links published in peer-
reviewed medical journals, even though not widely publicly known.
7. In 1971, the Royal College of Physicians deemed tobacco deaths a holocaust. As
the exhibits show, tobacco is killing tens of millions. It is vital that the settlement not in
any way, directly or indirectly, even by implication, give the impression that any criminal
liability whatever is waived.
Wherefore, the Court should amend the proposed settlement consistent with the
Leroy J. Pletten
1 March 1999 Leroy J. Pletten, Commenting Individual
1. Cost Analysis Paper (1980)
2. Narrative on MCL § 750.27, MSA § 28.216
3. 9 July 1997 Verifying Letter from State of Michigan
4. 11 Sep 1997 Verifying Letter from State of Michigan
5.a. and b. Narratives on Prosecutions for Genocide
International Criminal Court
6. Law Dictionary Terminology on Unlawfulness of Tobacco Selling
Special Master John W. Sharbrough, Esq.
156 St. Anthony Street
Mobile AL 36603-6436
The Mobile, Alabama court supported public health and civil justice by rejecting Liggett's 1997 settlement with 22 State Attorneys General that would have immunized Liggett from future lawsuits.
Mobile County Circuit Judge Robert Kendall rejected the effort by tobacco maker Liggett Group Inc. to head off future lawsuits by injured and dying smokers by creating a fund that would limit payments severely. Liggett is the smallest of the five major tobacco firms and has about 2 percent of the business. It had revealed documents on the addictiveness of nicotine, and given unprecedented cooperation in tobacco litigation that led to the nationwide settlement with state attorneys general. They had sued cigarette makers to recover some costs of treating sick smokers. Liggett had broken with the industry by settling with several states and disclosing documents on the addictiveness of nicotine. There was also a highly touted pledge to put tough warnings on LGI's cigarette brands. This ended when LGI (under Bennett S. LeBow) sold three of the brands to Philip Morris, Inc.
Judge Kendall relied on a Supreme Court decision that set aside a $1.5 billion settlement involving Ortiz et al. v Fibreboard Corp et al, Case No. 97-1704, 527 US, 119 S Ct 2295; 144 L Ed 2d 715 (23 June 1999) and asbestos-related claims. That ruling set strict standards for settlements that apply to all potential plaintiffs.
Liggett's attorneys had alleged to the judge that bankruptcy loomed if the settlement were denied. However, after he ruled, Liggett spokesman Paul Caminiti said the company was reviewing its options but was "absolutely not considering bankruptcy.''
The deal that Judge Kendall rejected had proposed that Liggett would pay an amount equal to 7.5 percent of its sales in each of the next 25 years into a fund that would be earmarked for victims who have smoked its cigarettes, such as L&M, Lark and Chesterfield. The fund would be guaranteed payments of $1 million annually. But the deal limited the amount Liggett would have paid to people claiming harm from its cigarettes.
Blue Cross, union health funds and others involved in tobacco litigation had opposed the settlement, saying the company was not in financial straits.
In May 1999, Liggett's parent company sold its L&M, Lark and Chesterfield brands to Philip Morris for $300 million. That leaves the company with Eve as its only remaining premium brand of cigarettes.
For information on prior litigation involving this company, see Brooke Group Ltd. v Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp, 509 US 209 (1993), a lawsuit alleging conspiracy to undercut Liggettt (now Brooke) prices reflecting predatory practices). Liggett won at jury trial, then the courts all the way to the Supreme Court, reversed the victory!! This background on other tobacco oligopolists' efforts against LGI can help explain its turning against them during the Attorney General litigation.
Michigan's safe cigarettes law refutes the notion/myth that cigarettes are universally legal!!
|Michigan House of Representatives Cigarette Report - 1889|
Pursuant to the Noriega precedent, details at our extradition site, no jurisdiction can legally be used for action to violate the laws of another, e.g., no Alabama (or other state) action to lead to violating Michigan's cigarette ban.
Michigan has suffered from so much cigarette smuggling via cigarettes from other states, that our Governor declared an emergency over it, see text of finding. Moreover, cigarette companies have in essence aided and abetted cigarette smuggling, even across country lines. For example, see the paper on cigarette smuggling in Italy, and one on German Cigarette smuggling, entitled "The Nicotine Racket: Trafficking in Untaxed Cigarettes. A Case Study of Organized Crime in Germany" (a guest lecture given at the Institute for Criminology of the Oslo University, Norway, in May 1999 by Klaus von Lampe).
With Which Officials Are Familiar
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Copyright © 1999 Leroy J. Pletten