Thu, AM: DOJ scores big with 2 witnesses

September 30, 2004 1:29 pm by Gene Borio

Dr. Samet’s examination concluded this morning. He seemed to score a win for the DOJ not only for his position in the scientific world, but for his apparent integrity, intelligence and sober judgement. His answers were so consistently exacting and considered, that they seemed to exemplify the accolades and estimations cited by DOJ’s Eubanks in their redirect. This was one eminently trustworthy witness.

The next witness was A.J. Stevens, Adverse Witness for DOJ, who was examined by Gregg Schwind.

Stevens was the General Counsel for Lorillard from 1969-98, and a senior advisor & consultant until 2001.

Schwind attempted to question Stevens about the changes to his Direct Testimony, and to use those changes to introduce a significant number of additional documents. (Judge Kessler will rule on many of those over the weekend.)

His testimony seemed questionable in several areas.

SHOOK HARDY BACON’S OTHER CLIENTS

Stevens was for 30 years General Counsel for Lorillard, and for 25 years was a member of the Tobacco Institute’s Committee of Counsel — yet he claimed not to know what other tobacco clients Shook Hardy had.

FAMILIARITY WITH TRIAL DOCUMENTS

He professed ignorance of close knowledge of the production of documents used in Cipollone (1988) and Haines (1992). Lorillard was involved in thousands of cases at that time, he said. He never directed the production of documents in any case.

(Cipollone and Haines were arguably the greatest and most damaging tobacco cases up until that time–and their greatest damage came from the pioneering use and release of documents, the first major such use, leading to the Minnesota document demands. However, Stevens did seem to know about some problems concerning infections in animals in Gary Huber’s CTR-funded Harvard lab.)

LORILLARD’S LEGAL POSITION ON SMOKING AS A RISK FACTOR FOR DISEASE

A part of Stevens’ changed testimony concerned his estimation of Lorillard’s position in litigation on smoking as a risk factor for disease. From his Direct Testimony:

Q: Isn’t it true that throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Lorillard consistently took a position in litigation that smoking is not a risk factor for disease?

A: Yes.

Q: And isn’t also true that Lorillard consistently took a position during that same time in litigation that smoking does not cause disease?

A: Yes, I believe that was our position.

Stevens said he was mistaken in that answer. He gave a similar answer in a 2000 deposition for Blue Cross NJ v. Philip Morris, et. al. Stevens said that he must have gotten “confused,” or just did not recall that Lorillard had not taken that position.

CTR “SPECIAL PROJECTS”

Schwind asked Stevens about the moving of the fiscal administration for CTR, and “special projects” and “special account projects” documents from CTR to Shook Hardy after Cipollone (1988). He also asked about the 1992 “moratorium” on such projects after Haines. He said the idea for the moratorium was probably Wachtel’s.

Schwind suggested the move was made because Judge Sarokin in Cipollone had found the “CTR was not independent.”

SCHWIND: Wasn’t the plan to move documents to Shook Hardy Bacon in order to protect them by attorney client privilege?

STEVENS: No, that was not the intention.

One Response to “Thu, AM: DOJ scores big with 2 witnesses”

  1. Gene Borio Says:

    The testimony Mr. Stevens changed was given on March 3, 2000 in BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD OF NEW JERSEY v. PHILIP MORRIS INC. It may be found in the DATTA collection: http://tobaccodocuments.org/datta/STEVENSA033000.html

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