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Web Watch follows issues relevant to tobacco control on the world wide web. The emphasis is on new sites or new features appearing on the web including relevant URLs and short descriptions of the material. A web site is available featuring the URL links referenced in this column as well as those referenced in past columns; the URL for that site is: < http://www.gate.net/∼jcannon/webwatch/ >.
More than 800 additional Liggett documents
On 4 December 1997, the Commerce Committee of the House of Representatives in the United States subpoenaed more than 800 tobacco industry documents in the matter of State of Minnesota et alvs Philip Morris Inc. et al, No C1-94-8563.
Stating that the documents revealed “a conspiracy of silence and suppression of scientific research,” Ramsey County (Minnesota) District Judge Kenneth Fitzpatrick, on 16 December 1997, upheld the conclusions of Special Master Mark W Gehan that 864 previously secret tobacco company documents contained evidence of crime or fraud and therefore were not protected by attorney-client privilege as asserted by tobacco industry lawyers. Judge Fitzpatrick’s order is available at:
< http://www.ag.state.mn.us/consumer/tobacco/Order121797.html >.
The 864 documents were among a larger set of papers the Liggett Group Inc. turned over under seal to Minnesota in March after settling its lawsuit with 20 states suing the tobacco industry. Special Master Gehan was appointed to review the contested papers in a much-watched case brought by Minnesota against the tobacco industry. The Special Master’s report recommending the release of the documents is available at:
< http://www.ag.state.mn.us/consumer/tobacco/SpecialMaster121897.html >.
On 18 December 1997, the commerce committee released the documents. Those documents are available at:
< http://www.house.gov/commerce/TobaccoDocs/documents.html >.
An alternative link is:
< http://22.214.171.124/TobaccoDocs.nsf/ >.
The chairman of the Commerce Committee is congressman Thomas Bliley, who is known as the “Congressman from Philip Morris”. His district encompasses the Philip Morris plant in Richmond Virginia.
Web Watch is prepared by Jack Cannon. Send correspondence to him by email ().