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July 19, 1995

The Brown and Williamson Documents: The Company's Response

JAMA. 1995;274(3):254-255. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530030074037

BROWN AND WILLIAMSON Tobacco Corporation (B&W) sees itself as the victim in this story, which began more than 3 years ago in the inner sanctum of its law firm in Louisville, Ky. The company's version, presented in court filings and other official statements, ignores the substance of the supposedly confidential company documents that have formed the basis for dozens of news media reports since May 1994. B&W contends that the documents were stolen by former paralegal Merrell Williams before his dismissal from the company's law firm. B&W alleges that the documents are now being used by unscrupulous plaintiffs' attorneys hoping to gain an unfair advantage over the tobacco industry in products liability lawsuits. B&W alleges that the lawyers have purchased Williams a $100 000 house on Mississippi's Gulf Coast, two cars, and a boat in exchange for his cooperation. And B&W is waging an aggressive legal campaign to prevent the

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