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Tobacco industry use of judicial seminars to influence rulings in products liability litigation
  1. L C Friedman
  1. Correspondence to:
 MsLissy C Friedman
 Tobacco Control Resource Center, Northeastern School of Law, 102 The Fenway, Cushing Hall, Room 117, Boston, MA 02115, USA; lissy{at}tplp.org

Abstract

Objectives: This paper examines the tobacco industry’s efforts to influence litigation by sponsoring judicial seminars.

Methods: Thousands of internal tobacco documents were examined, including memos, reports, presentations, and newsletters. Connections to outside organisations were corroborated by examining tobacco industry financial records, budgets, and letters pledging funds. Facts about outside organisations were triangulated through examining their websites and publicly-filed financial records, and verifying facts through their representatives’ statements in newspaper and law review articles.

Results: There are direct financial ties between the tobacco industry and groups that organise judicial seminars in an effort to influence jurisprudence, and judges who attend these seminars may be breaching judicial ethics either by not inquiring about the source of funding or by ignoring funding by potential litigants.

Conclusions: The tobacco industry’s attempts to clandestinely influence judges’ decisions in cases to which they are a party endangers the integrity of the judiciary.

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Footnotes

  • This work has been supported by NIH grant RO1 CA 87571.

  • Competing interests: none declared

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