Tobacco / Smoking

* If I had a nickel for every federal judge who dismissed a challenge to Obamacare, I’d have fifteen cents. Come to think of it, phrasing it that way doesn’t illustrate a whole lot. Oh well. [New York Times]

* Tennessee seeks to outdumb every other state with a proposal that would make it a felony for any person to follow sharia law. Your move, Mississippi. [The Tennessean]

* Albany Law School of Union University is downsizing, but will likely still keep all three T’s. [National Law Journal]

* The Supreme Court ruled that a 1986 law precluded plaintiffs from suing vaccine-makers in state courts. In your face, Jenny McCarthy. [WSJ Law Blog]

* “Top SEC lawyer and his bros inherited $1.5M in Madoff profits.” [New York Post]

* The FBI is being sued for sending an informant to infiltrate a California mosque. Instead of War on Poverty, they got a War on Terrorism so the police can bother me. [Washington Post]

* New York City parks are the newest places to go smoke-free. If we smoke, do we not bleed? [CNN]

* If the Muslim Brotherhood gains power in Egypt, they will impose sharia law. Just like Oklahoma! [ABC Online]

* Lindsay Lohan took to Twitter to announce that she “was not raised to lie, cheat, or steal.” Well, nature it is. [msnbc.com]

* Arizona is suing the federal government over the porous border. Mr. Obama, build us a wall! [Reuters]

* Barry Bonds, he of the enormous dome piece, had the number of felony charges against him dropped to five. Hauling that gargantuan cranium about. I’m not kidding, that boy’s head is like Sputnik. [ESPN]

* Mario will mediate the Madoff / Mets mess. [New York Post]

* How to fix the criminal justice system? I say gulags. Mostly because I like the word gulags. [The BLT via WSJ Law Blog]

* Hospitals have begun turning away job applicants who smoke. This guy thinks hospitals are acting like a bunch of weiners. [New York Times]

Smokers are not crazy. I know it seems like we’re crazy. I know what non-smokers think: “Why would you put something in your body that you know will give you cancer?” It’s not like the explanation is particularly complicated: 1) it’s a narcotic and people get addicted, and 2) some people aren’t terribly worried about dying.

Is that really so hard to understand? Not everybody wants to live “healthily.” Not everybody is desperate to live to 100. And some are prone to get addicted to drugs. That’s not crazy.

But don’t try telling that to the New York police. They arrested a man and threw him in a psychiatric ward for smoking on his window ledge. They claim they were worried that he was going to jump from the window ledge he was smoking on. The window was two stories off the ground.

Now the NYPD is getting sued, because this smoker is also a lawyer…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: What Are You Going To Do, Arrest Me for Smoking?”


Philip Morris logo.jpgA Florida state court judge, Jeffrey Streitfeld, has decided that the largest individual award to a former smoker is excessive. The Daily Business Review (gavel bang: ABA Journal) reports on the good news for tobacco peddler Philip Morris:

Calling the $300 million jury verdict “excessive” and “shocking,” Judge Jeffrey Streitfeld said he would determine a lower award later against tobacco giant Philip Morris USA. He gave no indication when he would rule.

The landmark verdict was reached in November for Cindy Naugle, an emphysema patient who quit smoking in 1993.

There are few things that bother me more than smokers blaming tobacco companies for becoming addicted to their products. Does Philip Morris sell an illegal product? No. Do you need to be galactically stupid to smoke yet not know that smoking is dangerous? Yes. So what is the rationale for suing a company that produces a legal product you’d have to be epically dumb to not know is potentially dangerous?

As a smoker, I feel particularly qualified to say: it’s not Philip Morris’s fault if I get sick. It’s my fault. I take personal responsibility for my own health choices.

Personal responsibility. Seems like a winning argument, doesn’t it? Well, it’s pretty much the argument pursued by Philip Morris’s lawyers. And … it horribly backfired.

Judge Streitfeld has decided to step in to correct the lawyers’ mistake.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge to Mitigate Damages Out of Pity For Philip Morris Counsel”

david bernick kirkland.JPGKirkland & Ellis is known for its powerful litigators and leading litigation department. Though Gibson Dunn was happy to knock Kirkland from its Amlaw “Litigation Department of the Year” throne this year.
Kirkland is suffering another big knock this week. Litigation co-chair David Bernick has developed a tobacco addiction. Here’s a quote from Bernick included in an official firm statement and in an internal memo sent around the firm yesterday (both available in full after the jump):

“I have spent my entire career at Kirkland & Ellis and I am proud to have contributed to the growth and success of one of the top law firms,” said David Bernick. “I will remain close to my many friends and colleagues at the Firm, but I look forward to pursuing new challenges during the next phase of my career with Philip Morris International.”

After 31 years at Kirkland, Bernick is leaving to become senior vice president and general counsel of Philip Morris International, and he’s going very far away. He’ll be relocating from New York to Switzerland.
Bernick is a powerhouse at Kirkland. He has a smoking résumé. His firm bio recounts victories for big pharma, nuclear weapons plants, breast implants, and tobacco….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: Kirkland Litigation Partner David Bernick to Philip Morris”

Smoking.jpg
If you live in NYC, you’re used to smoking being banned in almost every place of business; your law dates back to 2003. DC caught up in January of 2007. However, the pro-health laws have had a harder time down south where people get all hot and bothered when the government tries to tell ‘em what to do. Here in Tuscaloosa (‘Bama), the law bars smoking in restaurants before 10:00 pm. It’s a narrow victory for the non-smokers.

Professor Althouse posted today about the loophole in the Minnesota ban that allows smoking for “actors in theatrical performances.” Non-actors in Minnesota are trying to use the exception to get around their state’s ban.

We know we have readers all around the country. What’s the status of smoking in your town’s bars and restaurants? If there is a ban, is it enforced?

“The Tobacco Monologues” [Althouse]
NY State Smoking Ban Signed into Law [CNN]
DC Smoking Ban Approved [Washington Post]

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