Mike and Roberta were co-lead counsel for the State of Minnesota and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota in a groundbreaking lawsuit against the tobacco industry. After four years of litigation-including discovery of more than 30 million pages of internal documents, litigation of crime-fraud privilege issues, more than a dozen interlocutory appeals (including two to the United States Supreme Court) and four months of trial-the case settled on May 8, 1998, on the eve of jury deliberations for $7 billion and unprecedented injunctive relief against the tobacco industry. Jan negotiated and drafted the settlement. The settlement included an end to marketing to children and a repository of 35 million pages of tobacco industry documents available for public scrutiny. Mike and Roberta received Trial Lawyer of the Year Award from Trial Lawyers for Public Justice for work on the litigation.
Minnesota’s 1998 settlement with major cigarette manufacturers remains a milestone in American legal history. At settlement, it was the world’s fourth largest legal settlement. It not only generates hundreds of millions of dollars annually — forever — for Minnesota’s treasury, but also imposes permanent legal restrictions on the activities of the cigarette manufacturers. Among other things, the settlement: