William Lerner

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Dr. William Lerner MD was an expert witness on addiction in the Reach case. He was being handled by Shook Hardy & Bacon.

John Johnstone was the SH&B lawyer in charge of recruiting addiction witnesses and the company charged for meetings with Lerner [1]

Documents & Timeline

1982 Aug 31 The Council for Tobacco Research (CTR) statements for Special Projects #4 accounts shows that Dr William Lerner was being paid some expenses of $300 [2] and a trivial amounts of $150 [3]

[His fee-for-service would have been thousands of dollars and paid by way of a law firm to keep it from discovery]

1986 Feb 27 The five major law firms which service the tobacco industry for litigation purposes met to discuss the work each was doing to identify the best witnesses on 'Addiction' (their term) to be used when defending tobacco cases or giving evidence at hearings. [Of course they always denied that cigarettes were addictive .. just 'habit forming']

They reviewed evidence that about a dozen of their witnesses had given, and tried to narrow their list down to a few of the best. They said about this witness:

William Lerner is an M.D. involved in a drug abuse treatment center, although he lacks direct experience with smoking. He has been named in Reach. (a product liability case_ J. Stubblebine and Merritt Foster are practicing psychiatrists and Charles Winick has a diverse background. John recently met with Ed Gripon in Texas, a psychiatrist, and reported that he looked promising. [4]

[NOTE: This document would normally be prohibited from release because of lawyer confidentiality. However because this meeting constituted a conspiracy, the court has compelled production]

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