Phillip Morris Inc., et. al. v. Glendening
- Case Date: 12/10/1997
- Project Name: Reining in the Plaintiffs' Bar
WLF filed a brief in March 1997, urging the court to strike down the arrangement. The case arises out of the Maryland Attorney General's decision to file a $16 billion lawsuit against several manufacturers of tobacco products for the Medicaid and other medical costs associated with "tobacco-related illnesses." Rather than staff the case out of the Attorney General's office or hire outside counsel on a fee-for-service basis, the Attorney General entered a contingency fee contract with private plaintiffs' lawyers. Specifically, the Attorney General promised these lawyers 25 percent -- up to $4 billion -- of any recovery, plus the costs and expenses of bringing the suit, in return for their handling of the day-to-day aspects of the litigation. In its brief, WLF argued that such an arrangement violated traditional notions of due process, which prohibit a State from pursuing a multi-billion dollar civil case through contingency fee counsel.