The Anti Tobacco Troops Smell Blood

The Liggett settlement is triggering a legal barrage

Big lawsuits tend to be ponderous, especially if they involve the tobacco industry. But antitobacco forces have been in a frenzy ever since Mar. 13, when Liggett Group Inc. became the first company to settle lawsuits alleging that cigarette makers concealed what they knew about the dangers of smoking. Subpoenas are out to former industry employees, new witnesses are surfacing, potential plaintiffs have stepped forward, and prosecutors are intensifying their criminal inquiries. "There's the smell of blood in the air," says John P. Coale, a lawyer representing the so-called Castano class action, a case brought on behalf of all addicted smokers that Liggett settled.

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