Archive for the ‘Liability / Lawsuits / Insurance’ Category.
As part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), Congress mandated that the CPSC create a "publicly available consumer product safety information database" compiling consumer complaints about the safety of products. Last week, by a 3-2 majority, the commission voted to adopt regulations that have dismayed many in the business community by ensuring that the database will needlessly include a wide range of secondhand, false, unfounded or tactical reports. The Washington Times editorializes:
"¦[Under the regulations as adopted last week] anybody who wants to trash a product, for whatever reason, can do so. The commission can leave a complaint on the database indefinitely without investigating its merits "even if a manufacturer has already provided evidence the claim is inaccurate," as noted by Carter Wood of the National Association of Manufacturers' "Shopfloor" blog"¦.
Trial lawyers pushing class-action suits could gin up hundreds of anonymous complaints, then point the jurors to those complaints at the "official" CPSC website as [support for] their theories that a product in question caused vast harm. "The agency does not appear to be concerned about fairness and does not care that unfounded complaints could damage the reputation of a company," said [Commissioner Nancy] Nord.
Commissioners Nord and Anne Northup introduced an alternative proposal (PDF) aimed at making the contents of the database more reliable and accurate but were outvoted by the Democratic commission majority led by Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. Nord: "under the majority's approach, the database will not differentiate between complaints entered by lawyers, competitors, labor unions and advocacy groups who may have their own reasons to "˜salt' the database, from those of actual consumers with firsthand experience with a product."
Any number of private actors have already tackled this problem. Amazon.com has probably the most comprehensive set of product reviews, and has taken a number of steps (e.g. real name reviews) to increase trust in their system. Reviewers who are shills (either for or against a product) are quickly outed by other reviewers. Another site whose reviews I rely on a lot is TripAdvisor, which has hotel and other travel reviews. TripAdvisor allows the reviewed hotels to respond to individual reviews in a way that the consumer can see to get both sides of the story.
Apparently, none of this back and forth will be allowed in the CPSC data base. The Democrats who wrote the process only want bad stuff in the data base, so it will not allow manufacturer responses or even positive reviews to appear. The only possible justification for the government to run this database would be for the government to take a role in investigating and confirming or overturning claims and complaints, but it is clear it won't be doing this either. This will just be a location for disgruntled people to drop turds on various manufacturers, all with the imprimatur of the government. I can't see consumers finding much value here compared to the alternatives, but I can see the value in a courtroom to be able to stuff a government site with unsubstantiated claims and then use that site to say that the "official" government site is full of criticisms of the product.
From Overlawyered today:
"A new study in the Financial Analysts Journal casts serious doubt on the premise [of litigation social efficiency], at least when it comes to shareholder class actions. In most cases, the authors found, the litigation mainly serves to punish shareholders who have already suffered from a downturn in their stock. Only suits targeting illegal insider trading, and to a lesser extent, accounting fraud were associated with subsequent higher long-term returns."
Way back in early 2006 (have I been blogging so long?) I was guest blogging at Overlawyered and I wrote this:
But from a philosophical standpoint, shareholder suits have never made much sense to me. While I can understand the shareholders of the company suing a minority shareholder who might be enriching themselves disproportionately (e.g. Rigas family at Adelphia), suits by shareholders against the company they own seem"¦ crazy.
Any successful verdict for shareholders against the company would effectively come out of the pockets of the company's owners who are.. the shareholders. So in effect, shareholders are suing themselves, and, win or lose, they as a group end up with less than if the suit had never been started, since a good chunk of the payout goes to the lawyers. The only way these suits make financial sense (except to the lawyers, like Bill Lerach) is if only a small subset of the shareholders participate, and then these are just vehicles for transferring money from half the shareholders to the other half, or in other words from one wronged party that does not engage in litigation to another wronged party who is aggressively litigious. Is there really justice here?
OK, you could argue that many of these shareholders are not suing themselves, because they are past shareholders that dumped their stock at a loss. But given these facts, these suits are even less fair. If these suits are made by past shareholders who held stock (ie, were the owners) at the time certain wrongs were committed, they are in fact paid by current and future shareholders who may well have not even owned the company at the time of the abuses, and who may in fact be participating in cleaning the company up. So these litigants are in effect making the argument that because the company was run unethically when they owned it, they are going to sue the people who bought it from them and cleaned it up? Shouldn't the payment be the other way around, with past owners paying current owners for the mess they left?
I understand that theoretically they might have an incentive improvement from the threat of these suits that improves corporate governance. But this is mitigated by the fact that most corporations consider these suits to be random landmines without merit, to be avoided if possible, to be settled if necessary, but that have little bearing on the underlying governance of the company.
A patent troll company thinks it owns exclusive rights to rollover messages on web sites, among many other common features as outlined in the brazenly, ridiculously general patent entitled "Accessing, assembling, and using bodies of information." I am just waiting for the patent on breathing or metabolizing food. Story here, via Overlawyered.
Via Overlawyered, from here
Taiwan's Intellectual Property Office said it had disqualified Wu Chih-wei and asked him to return the medal and prize money he got for winning the "Protect Copyright" poster-design contest, after Wu admitted he had copied the design he submitted.
I am sure this will garner much sympathy from all of you
"[Attorney George Fleming] said he had worked too long and too hard for a lousy $41 million," said Jim Doyle, who left the firm after objecting to Fleming's unusual decision to include non-client expenses among those billed to clients.
Via Overlawyered. Fleming is accused of padding his expenses in a class action settlement.
Everyone seems to know who Gloria Allred is, though I have never heard of her. Apparently she is opposed to Meg Whitman getting elected (I am not even sure - is Whitman running for Senator or Governor?). But her approach is weird. She attacks Whitman for not identifying and firing an illegal immigrant fast enough. There is no way for this accusation to be true given the timeline Allred outlines unless Ms. Whitman's illegal immigrant maid at some point farbricated or falsified documents. In specific, Allred is claiming Whitman did not act fast enough when the Feds sent her a letter saying there was a problem with her maid's social security number. Implicit in all this is that Whitman's maid must have fabricated documentation and as a minimum provided a false or stolen social security number.
OK, all normal team pepsi - team coke political BS, except for this: Whitman's maid is Allred's legal client. Allred, in order to publicly score points on Whitman, is hanging her own client out to dry by as much as admitting her client engaged in identity theft. The maid's lawyer is complaining that her client was not fired fast enough. Unbelievable. Is this the true state of legal ethics today? And not a mention of this obvious ethical issue in the AP story.
Based on past studies of sudden acceleration problems (e.g. that the vast majority of sudden acceleration problems mysteriously happen to senior citizens) I predicted that many of the Toyota failures would come down to operator error. The incentives for operators are substantial, even before tort action, both from a psychological and monetary standpoint to blame their own errors on Toyota.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has analyzed dozens of data recorders from Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles involved in accidents blamed on sudden acceleration and found that at the time of the crashes, throttles were wide open and the brakes were not engaged, people familiar with the findings said.
The results suggest that some drivers who said their Toyota and Lexus vehicles surged out of control were mistakenly flooring the accelerator when they intended to jam on the brakes. But the findings don't exonerate Toyota from two known issues blamed for sudden acceleration in its vehicles: sticky accelerator pedals and floor mats that can trap accelerator pedals to the floor.
The findings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration involve a sample of reports in which a driver of a Toyota vehicle said the brakes were depressed but failed to stop the car from accelerating and ultimately crashing.
The data recorders analyzed by NHTSA were selected by the agency, not Toyota, based on complaints the drivers had filed with the government.
The findings are consistent with a 1989 government-sponsored study that blamed similar driver mistakes for a rash of sudden-acceleration reports involving Audi 5000 sedans.
The Toyota findings, which haven't been released by NHTSA, support Toyota's position that sudden-acceleration reports involving its vehicles weren't caused by electronic glitches in computer-controlled throttle systems, as some safety advocates and plaintiffs' attorneys have alleged. More than 100 people have sued the auto maker claiming crashes were the result of faulty electronics.
Of course breast implants pretty clearly never caused immune disorders, but that did not stop tort lawyers from bankrupting an entire industry on that theory. So it is nice that Toyota has the facts on its side, but that may or may not help in court, and almost certainly will not help in Congress or the Administration, whose agendas were always driven more by the desire to help domestic auto companies against a powerful foreign rival.
When I grew up in Houston, we told Aggie jokes, like others might tell blond jokes or fill-in-disfavored-ethnic-group jokes. Anyway, way back in the 70's a joke went around something like this:
Did you hear about the Aggie who was caught in the New York blackout? He was stranded on an escalator for three hours.
I remember this only after seeing this story via overlawyered:
Kim Kreis, et al. v. American Multi-Cinema Inc.; AMC Entertainment Inc., No. CGC-10-501102 (San Francisco Super. Ct. filed June 25, 2010).
Trip and fall lawsuit. The plaintiffs injured themselves on a stationary escalator at the defendants' movie theatre, as there was no sign posted warning them that it was not moving.
Is there any unwelcome outcome nowadays, however trivial, that can't spawn a lawsuit?
As a small business, there is just about no way to get a bank loan based on cash flow -- not just on future projections of cash flow, but even just based on a history of strong cash flows in the company. This is not particularly new post-financial-crash... I wrote about this issue years ago.
In contrast, it is fairly easy to get equipment financing. I get 10 calls a week from folks trying to finance my equipment purchases. If they can slap a lien against a moveable asset, people will lend money. The only change I have noticed of late is that fewer of these folks will do titled assets (like road vehicles). This is kind of ironic, since they can perfect their lien on titled assets more strongly, but apparently the government paperwork hassles with titles makes lending expensive for these assets.
The one exception to this is for boats. We would like to buy a bunch of new pontoon boats for rental service at some of our lakeside marinas. Pontoon boats are great assets - they have fast payback, they are tanks so they last forever, and they don't go very fast so they don't usually get in accidents. But no one will touch boat lending. Apparently there is too much liability for lenders. Which is just crazy, when you think about it. How in the world have we created a tort structure where Bank X is somehow liable for the actions of a boat user that gets hurt, just because Bank X lent the money for our company to buy the boat and then rent the boat to the user?\
Anyway, if anyone knows someone who finances such commercial boat purchases, drop me an email.
Years ago, I wrote a novel (still available at Amazon!) wherein a key plot point was a conspiracy between a Senator, a law firm, and a media company to create a high-profile tort case out of thin air.
Today, we may be seeing something similar with the Toyota sudden acceleration case. In this case, we have the Senate calling stooges of the plaintiff's bar as "expert witnesses" with the whole thing getting a third of the air time on nightly news programs. In my book, the whole thing was kicked off by a media company afraid of a new competitor - in this case it was kicked off by the US government, which controls GM, trying to sit on a competitor.
It is hard to spot the lowest behavior in the affair so far, but that honor can arguably go to ABC and the lengths to which it went to pretend it had recreated the problem. In fact, they had to strip three wires, splice in a resistor of a very specific value and then short two other wires. They made it sound like this is something that could easily happen naturally (lol) but this is an easy thing to prove - and inspection of actual throttle assemblies from cars that have supposedly exhibited the sudden acceleration problem have shown no evidence of such shorting. So the ABC story was completely fraudulent, similar to the old Dateline NBC story that secretly used model rocket engines to ignite gas tanks. Its amazing to me that Toyota, acting in good faith will get sued for billions over a complex problem which may or may not exist in a few cars, while ABC will suffer no repercussions from outright fraud.
Basically ABC proved that if you bypass a potentiometer with a resistor, you can spoof the potentiometer setting. Duh. The same hack on a radio would cause sudden acceleration of your volume.
Henry Payne has more.
When will attorneys every get a clue? Trying to strongarm people in the Internet age often backfires, as it did in this case, where lawyers demand comic book retailer Heavy Ink remove copies of a comic book parodying their client. Thirty seconds spent perusing Heavy Ink founder Travis Corcoran's blog should have convinced them this would not end well. TJIC's letter is a great example of not being intimidated by lawyers or the law.
from Times Online via Overlawyered
Shoppers stared in bemusement at the mysterious object that landed in a shopping precinct in Poole, Dorset, this week. Some compared it to a giant traffic cone, a witch's hat or a cheap special effect from an early episode of Doctor Who.
The 33ft structure turned out to be their Christmas tree, designed according to the principles of health and safety, circa 2009.
Thus it has no trunk so it won't blow over, no branches to break off and land on someone's head, no pine needles to poke a passer-by in the eye, no decorations for drunken teenagers to steal and no angel, presumably because it would need a dangerously long ladder to place it at the top....
The tree was commissioned by the Poole Town Centre Management Board because of fears that a real one would pose a hazard to shoppers.
It is amazing to me that there can be numerous health care plans in Congress plus a jillion speeches on the topic by the President and not once does anyone mention "torts." Now, I am not one to ascribe all cost problems in the medical field to defensive medicine and tort settlements. Buthey t certainly are a factor. It is just stunning that a President can stand up and talk numerous times about "unnecessary tests and procedures" and ascribe all of these to some weird profit motive by the doctors - weird because generally, the doctor gets no extra revenue from these tests, so somehow he or she is motivated by the profits of a third party lab.
But I think the rest of us understand that American tort law, which allows juries to make multi-million dollar judgements based on emotions and empathy rather than facts and true liability, has at least a share of the blame. Not just the settlements, but the steps doctors go through to try to protect themselves from frivolous suits down the road. Here are two interesting stories along these lines. The first from Carpe Diem:
Zurich University Hospital has stopped treating North American "medical tourists," fearing million-dollar claims from litigious patients if operations go wrong. Hospitals in canton Valais have also adopted measures to protect themselves against visitors from the United States, Canada and Britain.
"The directive applies only to patients from the US and Canada who come to Zurich for elective, non-essential health treatments," said Zurich University Hospital spokeswoman Petra Seeburger.
"It is not because treatment is not financed; it is because of different legal systems." In a statement the hospital said it was "not prepared to risk astronomical damages or a massive increase in premiums." Seeburger emphasised that the restrictions only affected people not domiciled in Switzerland.
Apologies to Mark Perry for quoting his whole post, but if you are not reading Mark Perry, you should be. The second example comes from Overlawyered:
Oh, I miss the days when you got a radiology report that said, "fracture right 3rd rib, no pneumothorax". Because of frivolous lawsuits radiologists have learned to be vague, noncommittal and to pass the buck of possible litigation. So now you get a 2 page report that says "linear lucency in right 3rd rib, clinical correlation recommended, underinflated lung fields cannot exclude underlying interstitial disease and or masses. CT recommended for further evaluation, if condition warrants." along with several other paragraphs of lawyer imposed legalmedspeak"¦.
Via Overlawyered, from here:
Lisa jumped out of the plane with Robin Rohemo, her tandem partner, and that's when it got really thrilling - the main parachute failed to deploy and Lisa hurtled toward the ground, somersaulting in the air, terrified of imminent and certain death when she'd smash into the [ground] at 100 miles per hour.
Luckily for Lisa, Mr. Rohemo knew exactly what to do during this mid-air free fall. First, he tried to cut the failed main chute off. Failing that, he told Lisa he needed her to stand on his knees and hold on. Lisa's words: "So I am holding as tight as I possibly could standing on his knees as we are falling to our death and I just felt this tremendous pressure pull on my hand ... and I figured we were going to die ...." Rohemo was able to free up the back-up chute, he and Lisa floated down to safety and no one died that day.
Whew, what a thrill. Maybe Lisa should've paid extra for the additional thrill. Instead, because her third and fourth fingers were fractured during the fall, she lawyered up and sued SkyDive claiming that Rohemo - her savior - had wrongfully told her to hold tight to a dangerous area of the parachute he was trying to cut away and then never told her to let go at an appropriate time. This, she and her lawyer claimed, presented Lisa with an enhanced risk not assumed or inherent in a tandem jump.
I don't know enough about parachuting to understand if she should be ticked off her main chute was packed wrong or something, but since that is not the basis of the suit, I assume that was not the issue. Nevertheless, I would be sending Mr. Rohemo a case of scotch every Christmas for the rest of his life. Lisa is suing him.
From Walter Olson, on the House health care bill:
Contacts on Capitol Hill inform me that Republicans yesterday managed to block a remarkable provision that had been slipped into the House leadership's 794-page health care bill just before it went to a House Ways & Means markup session. If their description of the provision is accurate "” and my initial reading of the language gives me no reason to think it isn't "” it sounds as if they managed to (for the moment) hold off one of the more audacious and far-reaching trial lawyer power grabs seen on Capitol Hill in a while.
For some time now the federal government has been intensifying its pursuit of what are sometimes known as "Medicare liens" against third party defendants (more)....
The newly added language in the Thursday morning version of the health bill (for those following along, it's Section 1620 on pp. 713-721) would greatly expand the scope of these suits against third parties, while doing something entirely new: allow freelance lawyers to file them on behalf of the government "” without asking permission "” and collect rich bounties if they manage thereby to extract money from the defendants. Lawyers will recognize this as a qui tam procedure, of the sort that has led to a growing body of litigation filed by freelance bounty-hunters against universities, defense contractors and others alleged to have overcharged the government.
It gets worse. Language on p. 714 of the bill would permit the lawyers to file at least some sorts of Medicare recovery actions based on "any relevant evidence, including but not limited to relevant statistical or epidemiological evidence, or by other similarly reliable means". This reads very much as if an attempt is being made to lay the groundwork for claims against new classes of defendants who might not be proved liable in an individual case but are responsible in a "statistical" sense. The best known such controversies are over whether suppliers of products such as alcohol, calorie-laden foods, or guns should be compelled to pay compensation for society-wide patterns of illness or injury.
He has a lot more detail. Ask anyone in a public contact business in California how similar laws for ADA violations have worked out. Just one more horrible, failed law from California that has driven the state into the ground now being emulated at the national level.
The Waxman-Markey Bill is pretty bad, but it could have been a lot worse:
The citizen suit provision was set forth in Section 336 of the discussion draft version of ACES [Waxman-Markey], and it would have given environmental groups and other activists standing under the Clean Air Act to "commence an action" when someone has "suffered, or reasonably expects to suffer, a harm attributable, in whole or in part, to a violation or failure to act referred to in subsection (a)." Harm under this section was defined as: "For purposes of this section, the term "˜harm' includes any effect of air pollution (including climate change), currently occurring or at risk of occurring, and the incremental exacerbation of any such effect or risk that is associated with a small incremental emission of any air pollutant (including any greenhouse gas defined in Title VII), whether or not the risk is widely shared."
Wow, would this create an absolute litigation circus or what? By current anthropogenic greenhouse gas theory and under the actual text above, one could get sued for breathing. (via Overlawyered)
A portion of my novel BMOC was satire of oddball lawsuits. In that book, for example, I had a woman suing Disney because she found that the characters at Disney World were people in costumes rather than the actual animated characters she had expected. I thought that was enough beyond reason and reality to constitute satire, but I guess I was wrong:
On May 21, a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California dismissed a complaint filed by a woman who said she had purchased "Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries" because she believed "crunchberries" were real fruit. The plaintiff, Janine Sugawara, alleged that she had only recently learned to her dismay that said "berries" were in fact simply brightly-colored cereal balls, and that although the product did contain some strawberry fruit concentrate, it was not otherwise redeemed by fruit. She sued, on behalf of herself and all similarly situated consumers who also apparently believed that there are fields somewhere in our land thronged by crunchberry bushes.
I haven't written that much lately about tort law, but it certainly has not gotten better. Here is an example set of facts:
19-year-old Sidney Odom happily went along when 20-year-old Travis Kirby and 18-year-old Riley Strickland asked "Who wants to go to the Beacon?""”a bar in Terry, Mississippi. A long night of drinking and driving came to an end at about 3 am when Kirby's Camaro hit a tree at about 90 mph. As none of the three were wearing seatbelts, all were ejected from the vehicle. Kirby, whose blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit at 0.25%, died at the scene; the other two were injured.
Think for a moment about who you reasonably believe to be at fault for the accident. Now, here is who actually was forced to accept liability:
- The dealer who sold them the car
- The shop that installed their tires
- Goodyear tire company
All you can say is, huh? When looking at modern tort outcomes, a much better predictor of legally assigned liability than trying to decide who was trully at fault is to look at the net worth of everyone who had any relation to the victims, and assuming those with the highest net worth will end up being heald "liable."
How "safety" news gets shaped: a litigation consultant "at the request of trial lawyers "¦ combed through hundreds of coroner's reports and media accounts" and before long ABC had an alarming story to run.
There is a symbiosis between tort lawyers (who want to inflame a jury into giving large awards, or better yet create a mass tort), the media (who want scare stories to boost circulation) and government (populated with legislators just itching to ban or regulate something to show they "care"). Someone should write a book about that.
Forget for a moment the real scientific questions about the future magnitude of anthropogenic global warming. Just imagine the abuse of this new proposed statute, given that incredibly difficult nature of causality in a complex, chaotic system like climate:
An under-the-radar provision in a House climate bill would give plaintiffs who claim to be victims of global warming a way to sue the federal government or businesses, according to a report Friday in The Washington Times.
The Times reported that Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman of California and Edward Markey of Massachusetts added it into a bill they authored.
The provision, which was just released, reportedly would set grounds for plaintiffs who has "suffered" or expect to suffer "harm" attributable at least in part to government inaction. The provision defines "harm" as "any effect of air pollution (including climate change)," according to the Times. Plaintiffs could seek up to $75,000 in damages a year from the government, with $1.5 million being the maximum total payout.
Remember that it was just weeks ago that the President of the United States blamed flooding in North Dakota on global warming. If flood damage that resulted from a colder-than-average winter and near record snowfall can be blamed on anthropogenic global warming, then anything can.
Here is a real journalistic triumph -- the story of a multi-party conflict in which I immediately dislike absolutely everyone in the story on all sides of the conflict, up to and including the jury and the third parties quoted. Via Overlawyered.
Update: I failed to make clear that what really makes the article special is that the writer herself is at least as bad as everyone involved. She writes in the first paragraph, "If you are black, you probably call the act of disciplining a child with corporal punishment 'a whupping.'" Really? What's next, is she going to tell us that they all like watermelon too? Is this kind of blanket unsupported supposition about the habits of a particular race really in the the Chicago Sun-Times style manual on how to open a news feature? I grew up in Texas and "getting a whupping" was a term favored right across racial lines. Anyway, I gotta go now and chase some varmints away from my cement pond out back.
Update #2: I just got an email that said "If you are white, you probably trade jars of Grey Poupon out the windows of your Rolls Royce." LOL.
from the AZ Republic:
A Yale University student is suing US Airways for $1 million because of the loss of a video game system he claims was taken from his luggage.
Ohio resident Jesse Maiman, 21, claims his Xbox 360 console was taken from his bag during a December flight from New Haven, Conn. to Cincinnati.
He is suing for $1,700 for the video game system and for the maximum damages allowable by law, or $1 million.
You can read the article all day and you will not find any extenuating circumstances to justify this arbitrarily absurd number. Even $1,700 for the game system itself is absurd. One hour of legal time on this would be worth more than the machine.
I haven't written for a while about lawsuits, in part because our company was in the process of being sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars in two cases for a) allowing a customer to get a splinter in his/her foot from walking barefoot on a wooden deck and b) allowing a guy who just had a knee operation and jumped from a height of six feet to hurt his knee. I really didn't want to throw any more fuel on the discovery fire.
Anyway, that is all behind me, and just in time to post on a funny story via Overlawyered. I have written a number of times about lawyers whose clients get coupons while they harvest millions in fees from a class action. As I wrote here:
It used to be that clients would suffer some sort of injury and seek redress in the courts. To do so, they would hire an attorney to help them. The attorney was the hired help, compensated either hourly or via a percentage of any awards.
Today, the situation is often reversed. It is the attorney who is identifying lawsuit targets for class actions and shareholder suits, and then seeking out clients who can maximize his chances of success. Clients, who typically make orders of magnitude less than the attorney in class actions (think 50-cent coupons and $8 million attorney fees) are selected because they are sympathetic, or give access to a particularly plaintiff-attractive jurisdiction, or, in cases such as ADA suits in California, because they have effectively become partners with the attorney in serial torts.
So I had to laugh when I saw this story in Overlawyered yesterday:
The client class members were to receive only gift cards, not cash, in the settlement with Windsor Fashions, a clothing retailer, so Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brett Klein thought it only fair to provide that Yorba Linda attorney Neil B. Fineman be paid his fee with "12,500 ten-dollar Windsor Fashions gift cards."
Via the Liberty Papers:
U.S. states have not lived up to their commitment to devote a major portion of their huge legal settlement with the tobacco industry a decade ago on anti-smoking efforts, health advocacy groups said on Tuesday.
In the 10 years since the landmark deal, the states have received $79.2 billion of the settlement and another $124.3 billion from tobacco taxes, but have spent only about 3 percent of it "” $6.5 billion "” on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, the groups said in a report.
Gee, I really thought the settlement was about health care and tobacco education, and now I find out it was just a crass money grab? Who could have ever predicted that?
Those who have read my novel will recognize the sarcasm.