Judicial ORDER in Pennsylvania
The people in Pennsylvania seem
to be making some progress in seeing that there is a proper judicial review of the AG deal.
Here is what they sent our list group
"AND NOW, this 23rd day of November, 1998, it is hearby ORDERED
that the hearing before the Honorable Mary D. Colins scheduled for November 25,
1998 at 9:00 a.m. in Courtroom 275 City Hall to consider the Petitions for
Preliminary Relief, Intervention and Special Injunction by Robert B. Sklaroff, MD,
William Godshall and Jeffrey Barg is canceled and any further proceeding will be
scheduled before Judge Herron if and when any request to approve the settlement is filed."
BY THE COURT: [signed] John W. Herron, J. & Mary D. Colins, J.
Our lawyer interprets this as a victory, inasmuch as I had told the
law clerks for both judges this AM that our intent was merely to ensure the case had
been transferred to the proper judge prior to his signing-off on any agreement.
Thus, our petition (which will probably be updated following receipt
of dozens of FAXes over the weekend) contained sufficient pleadings to prompt the
scheduling of a hearing and, thereafter, to prompt the proper shift of venue.
My interpretation of the language is that the filing of the settlement
will trigger a proceeding at which we will have the opportunity to present our case.
Clearly, standing remains at-issue and our ability to muster sufficient data to warrant
its being rejected (as written) is not assured. But we are acquiring legal muscle from various
eastern-seaboard cities constantly, and we are still inviting additional litigants; for example,
at least one organization has now agreed to join as a co-petitioner.
Cases in California, Ohio, Michigan and New York are at various stages of development/rejection/appeal,
but ours has survived two hurdles; our lawyer now terms us "players" and we intensify
our appeal for endorsements.
If any further evidence is needed that our work is "for real"
and is now validated for co-adoption URGENTLY by other states, today's Wall Street Journal
(page B-13) states: "Antitobacco activists in PA, meanwhile, have sued to block that
state's participation on grounds that the settlement doesn't do enough to curtail industry
marketing practices or reduce smoking."
The anti-tobacco movement must now face its mortality. Our ongoing capacity to hope that
there will always be "another day" is
threatened by this settlement. We must prompt editorialists to educate the public
ASAP that tobacco will be institutionalized by this deal. We must posture ourselves as
educated and mainstream, as opposed to zealots and extremists, and we must be able to
explain the rationale for our concerns. Such is easy if people are merely prompted to
READ THE DOCUMENT. A little commentary is all that's needed to convince the non-initiate
that it is a THREAT to the public health.
Curiously, the Pennsylvania Medical Society is "supportive upon
advice from the Attorney General" which is ridiculous, inasmuch as the
AG signed it! The PA Society of Internal Medicine and the Phila. Co. Medical Society
both have called for a 30-day study period prior to rendering a judgment, and the AMA
will hold a major conference among organizational colleagues tomorrow, at which time all
of their data will be reviewed; its "disinterested" assessment is on its
www-site (ama-assn.org). Thus, we must encourage INDEPENDENT assessment of this deal by all
organizations with which we deal and of which we are members, lest the type of oxymoronic,
reflex behavior of the PMS become the operational norm.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The filing in PA through the Phila. Court of Common
Pleas has prompted issuance both of a Rule and an Order. As a result, this matter will
be heard by the President Judge (John W. Herron) at a hearing that will be scheduled
"if and when any request to approve the settlement is filed." The Petitioners
seek advice of whatever ilk the readership can muster, inclusive of consultative, legal,
organizational-endorsement and personal commentary. All input to myself will be shared
immediately with all petitioners and counsel. We encourage those in other states to copy
our brief (available through ASH.org) and file it urgently, for it will be far easier to
affect the outcome if this occurs before the judges approve the settlement proposals.