EDITORIAL: The Government's Selective Memory

New York Times
Friday, 9/24/99, p. A27
by Richard Epstein
[continued from Index page back]

[Provided by Tobacco Daily News Summaries]
In an op-ed in the NEW YORK TIMES, Richard Epstein, law professor at the University of Chicago, and a former consultant to Philip Morris, wrote that the Justice Department's suit is entirely without merit.

"In legal theory, the key element to any successful civil fraud claim is 'differential knowledge' -- A cannot deceive B if B already knows the truth. In this case, therefore, it is not enough to show that tobacco companies hid information about the dangers of smoking."

"The Government must show that the companies knew something that the Government did not: that smoking was potentially harmful. That contention seems impossible to prove. . . . It is unseemly for the greatest litigating force on earth to resort to a lawsuit at this late date -- after spending years regulating and preaching against tobacco."

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