Document disclosure c/o Essential
PROPOSED TOBACCO DEAL: ISSUES
Under the multistate agreement summary, documents which have been discovered
in state suits and are under protective order -- but for which the industry
has not claimed privileges -- will be released. The industry must publish
released documents on its website.
Questions and Concerns:
The settlement would permit states to continue to litigate for disclosure
of documents for which the industry has claimed privileges, including attorney-client
privilege, work-product doctrine and trade secret protections. But the states
are not likely to be aggressive in litigating these matters after they have
settled the cases, and they are given only 45 days to apply for disclosure.
- Why doesn't the industry agree to release these documents as part of
the settlement? Why aren't private parties given standing and funding to
challenge industry claims of privilege?
- The industry will be required to provide a user-friendly index to documents.
Will this be the 4A index -- the one the companies use, and which the Minnesota
settlement was supposed to make public. If not, why not?
- Will the industry web site be searchable by text as well as through
use of an index? Only that step would enable researchers to search on their
own, without relying on industry filters.
For more information, contact: Robert Weissman, Essential Action, 202-387-8030.