Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Big Tobacco Whistle Blower Dead at 72

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Merrell Williams Jr. has died.  Mr. Williams was a paralegal who
AP Photo
stole insider documents, from the third-largest cigarette company in the nation, which led to a massive financial settlement that forever altered the public-policy debate over cigarettes and tobacco.

Merrell Williams, passed away from a heart attack on Nov. 18 at age 72.  He said the he decided to stop up smoking after reading documents, that showed that tobacco executives knew that cigarettes were addictive and that they caused cancer.  Add to that they were aware that the companies were marketing cigarettes to minors.

In 1998, after multiple state sponsored lawsuits, Big Tobacco agreed to settlements that totaled about $240 billion.

Mike Moore, who filed the first of the suits in 1994 as Mississippi attorney general said that Merrell "was a hero of that fight."

Not as well known and The Insider, Jeffrey Wigand,  Mr. Williams was the guy who got the documents out that Jeffry Wigand was asked to examine and authenticate.

"Those documents were the heart of the litigation," according to Mr. Wigand.

"He was deeply proud of his role," said his daughter, Jennifer Smith. And who know how many lives he ultimately saved or at least improved!  Ultimately, Big Tobacco's shady dealings was a MASSIVE motivator for me wanting to stop and help others stop too.

Thank you Merrell Williams for your bravery and for taking a stand!