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Minnesota Suits

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BUSINESS
March 26, 1998 | HENRY WEINSTEIN, TIMES LEGAL AFFAIRS WRITER
Using a strategy that has proved successful in the past, the tobacco industry this week launched its defense against Minnesota's massive lawsuit by calling a well-regarded historian, who told the jury that there had been widespread concern and considerable publicity about the health hazards of smoking for many years.
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BUSINESS
September 22, 1999 | EDMUND SANDERS, TIMES STAFF WRITER
First Alliance Corp. has agreed to pay up to $550,000 to settle a consumer fraud complaint filed last year by the Minnesota attorney general's office, settling one of several pending lawsuits and investigations regarding the company's lending practices, officials said Tuesday. Irvine-based First Alliance will offer refunds to about 100 Minnesota borrowers, who were allegedly misled about what kind of loans they were receiving and how much they would pay in fees.
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BUSINESS
March 4, 1998 | MYRON LEVIN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Philip Morris Chairman Geoffrey C. Bible, continuing his testimony Tuesday in a big tobacco trial here, was confronted with a blizzard of internal company memos concerning the narcotic effects of smoking, including one document that compared nicotine to morphine and cocaine, and described cigarettes as "nicotine delivery devices" along with nicotine patches and gum.
BUSINESS
November 24, 1998 | DARYL STRICKLAND, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Controversial home equity lender First Alliance Mortgage Co. was hit with a lawsuit Monday by Minnesota authorities, who accused the Irvine firm of overcharging customers by thousands of dollars through hidden loan fees. Minnesota Atty. Gen. Hubert H. Humphrey III said First Alliance's employees rushed consumers through mountains of paperwork and used other "fraudulent schemes" to avoid telling borrowers about costs that ran as high as 30% of the amount being loaned.
BUSINESS
January 3, 1998 | Bloomberg News
Brown & Williamson, a unit of BAT Industries in Britain, paid a $100,000 fine imposed by a Minnesota judge for failing to turn over papers from its American Tobacco unit. In a letter with the check, Louisville-based Brown & Williamson said it isn't waiving its right to appeal the fine, which was ordered by Ramsey County District Court Judge Kenneth Fitzpatrick. Brown & Williamson made the payment several days ahead of the court's 10-day deadline.
BUSINESS
November 24, 1998 | DARYL STRICKLAND, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Controversial home equity lender First Alliance Mortgage Co. was hit with a lawsuit Monday by Minnesota authorities, who accused the Irvine firm of overcharging customers by thousands of dollars through hidden loan fees. Minnesota Atty. Gen. Hubert H. Humphrey III said First Alliance's employees rushed consumers through mountains of paperwork and used other "fraudulent schemes" to avoid telling borrowers about costs that ran as high as 30% of the amount being loaned.
NEWS
November 3, 1987
U.S. District Court Judge Harry H. MacLaughlin in Minneapolis dismissed civil lawsuits filed against county officials by former defendants in child sexual abuse cases that were later dropped. MacLaughlin ruled that former Scott County Atty. Kathleen Morris had absolute immunity for damage claims involving her prosecutorial functions, while former Sheriff Douglas Tietz, four sheriff's deputies and a social worker were protected by qualified immunity.
NEWS
February 8, 1998 | MYRON LEVIN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
When tobacco lawyers checked into their hotels for the state's anti-tobacco mega-trial, they were greeted by in-room copies of Minnesota Monthly with a beaming Jeanne Weigum on its cover. The magazine had named Weigum its 1997 Minnesotan of the Year, which must have given the tobacco folks pause. Unlike most people saluted in such a manner, Weigum is not an industrialist, philanthropist or cultural icon. She is a veteran anti-smoking activist.
BUSINESS
February 3, 1998 | Henry Weinstein
Over heated defense objections, portions of some of the most scathing articles ever published about the tobacco industry in a scholarly medical journal were read to the jury in the massive case filed against the nation's cigarette companies by the state of Minnesota and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota. Michael Ciresi, the lead plaintiff's attorney, read excerpts of a July 19, 1995, editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. and two related articles.
BUSINESS
April 15, 1998 | From Washington Post
Jurors in Minnesota's landmark suit against the tobacco industry Tuesday got their first glimpse of one of the 39,000 hotly contested company documents unsealed by the Supreme Court on April 6. The 1969 R.J. Reynolds memorandum discusses removing or declaring "invalidated" scientific research findings about tobacco that could prove damaging to the company in court.
NEWS
May 9, 1998 | HENRY WEINSTEIN and MYRON LEVIN, TIMES STAFF WRITERS
The $6.6-billion settlement of Minnesota's big anti-tobacco case represents a huge personal triumph for state Atty. Gen. Hubert H. Humphrey III, whose contrarian, hard-line assault on Big Tobacco belied his image as a steady, honest, but unremarkable, public servant stuck in the shadow of his famous father.
BUSINESS
May 8, 1998 | HENRY WEINSTEIN, TIMES LEGAL AFFAIRS WRITER
A cadre of top tobacco industry lawyers vigorously defended the conduct of their clients, maintaining in Thursday's closing arguments at a high-stakes trial here that the nation's cigarette companies had spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to make their products safer. They also denied that the companies marketed cigarettes to children.
BUSINESS
May 7, 1998 | HENRY WEINSTEIN, TIMES LEGAL AFFAIRS WRITER
Over strong defense objections, the judge in Minnesota's massive trial against the tobacco industry here told jurors Wednesday that they essentially could assume the worst from the cigarette companies' destruction of documents and failure to produce certain witnesses for trial. The jury instructions, issued by Ramsey County District Judge Kenneth J. Fitzpatrick, could help the plaintiffs prevail in the case where Minnesota and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota are seeking $1.
BUSINESS
May 5, 1998 | Times staff and wire reports
The tobacco industry has tentatively agreed to pay Minnesota between $5 billion and $6 billion to settle the state's lawsuit--but major stumbling blocks remained, sources said. Settlement talks between major tobacco companies, the state and its partner in the suits, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota, have intensified in the last two weeks as the case has wound down. Barring a settlement, the case could go to the jury as early as Thursday.
BUSINESS
April 30, 1998 | HENRY WEINSTEIN, TIMES LEGAL AFFAIRS WRITER
Tobacco industry lawyers have been meeting with representatives of the Minnesota attorney general's office in an attempt to negotiate a settlement of the state's massive case against the cigarette companies, according to several sources familiar with the talks. However, the sources cautioned that no deal is imminent in the case, which may go to the jury as early as the end of next week. Several sources, including Eric Johnson, chief aide to Minnesota Atty. Gen. Hubert H.
BUSINESS
April 25, 1998 | HENRY WEINSTEIN, TIMES LEGAL AFFAIRS WRITER
A provocative memo describing how R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. lawyers suppressed research on the health hazards of smoking has been removed from a congressional Web site after company officials complained that it should not have been made public Wednesday.
BUSINESS
April 25, 1998 | HENRY WEINSTEIN, TIMES LEGAL AFFAIRS WRITER
A provocative memo describing how R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. lawyers suppressed research on the health hazards of smoking has been removed from a congressional Web site after company officials complained that it should not have been made public Wednesday.
BUSINESS
March 18, 1998 | Times Staff and Wire Reports
Tobacco companies being sued in Minnesota must turn over 39,000 fiercely protected documents for use in the case against them, the state Court of Appeals ruled. The three-judge panel denied the companies' claim of attorney-client privilege for the documents, upholding a March 7 decision by Ramsey County District Judge Kenneth J. Fitzpatrick. The court said the documents must be released by noon Thursday unless the Minnesota Supreme Court grants a stay. Robert Weber, an R.J.
BUSINESS
April 21, 1998 | From Bloomberg News
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. doesn't use its advertising to attract new smokers, let alone children, a company marketing executive testified Monday in Minnesota's $1.77-billion Medicaid trial against cigarette companies. Lynn Beasley, RJR executive vice president and architect of the company's controversial Joe Camel campaign, testified in an attempt to blunt the impact of documents introduced earlier showing that RJR discussed appealing to smokers as young as 14.
BUSINESS
April 15, 1998 | From Washington Post
Jurors in Minnesota's landmark suit against the tobacco industry Tuesday got their first glimpse of one of the 39,000 hotly contested company documents unsealed by the Supreme Court on April 6. The 1969 R.J. Reynolds memorandum discusses removing or declaring "invalidated" scientific research findings about tobacco that could prove damaging to the company in court.
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