Doctors copy Big Tobacco tactics in tort-reform fight

Belleville News-Democrat
Sunday, January 15, 2006

Galvanized by soaring malpractice insurance costs, Illinois physicians led the charge for the landmark tort reform law the General Assembly passed last year.
But they followed a road map charted a decade earlier by an unlikely ally -- cigarette giant Philip Morris, according to a company memo entitled the "1995 Tort Reform Project."
In pushing for tighter product liability laws, the memo's author called for the broadcast of three messages to the public: "David v. Goliath. Lawsuit abuse witnesses/poster children. Making the trial bar radioactive."
This document can be found among the millions of other records that Philip Morris posted on a special Web site devoted to previously secret insider records.
The Web site ( was created as part of the $246 billion settlement that tobacco companies entered into with 46 states in November 1998.
The Philip Morris documents shed light on a "dirty little secret" of the tort reform movement in Illinois and other states, said Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy in New York City.
"Because the tobacco industry has been one of the principal architects of it," Doroshow said.

For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

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