Sunday, December 16th on 60 minutes, reporter Bill Whitaker sat down with Mike Moore, who he claims is just a “country lawyer from Mississippi,” although, has constructed and won two of the most impactful legal settlements in America’s history.
The current targets are the distributors and manufacturers of opioid painkillers. Moore has experience in suing huge corporations and plans to make this his third and last case of his career.
Back in 2015, Moore met with BP’s top executives during a confidential meeting and was able to agree on a $20 billion settlement regarding the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In the 60 minutes interview, Moore said “We explained to them what we thought it was going to cost them to get out of this, they explained to us what they thought they could do. And within 90 days, the federal government’s case, 485 cities’ and counties’ and all five states’ cases had been resolved.”
The $20 billion that was obtained by Moore from BP went into paying for both the federal government, states and counties bordering the Gulf for environmental damage caused by the spill. During the 2010 investigation, 60 minutes took a look into the causes of the Horizon explosion and found that 5 million barrels of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico, taking the first-place prize for most massive marine oil spill ever.
Moore followed a “playbook” during the BP settlement, in which he first used as the Attorney General of Mississippi when he filed the most significant and first suit against all significant American tobacco companies. Moore argues the companies downplayed the evidence and facts of smoking’s health risks. Which ultimately turned out to be the truth.
Many critics were skeptical when Moore filed the case back in 1994, and many even tried to deter him from moving forward. Even the Governor of Mississippi held a press conference call calling it a ‘foolish’ lawsuit.
“There was nobody who thought we had a chance to win, I heard from farmers, I heard from businesspeople. I had a deluge of people coming to me telling me that was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done and I’ll never get re-elected to office.” Moore told 60 minutes.
Despite the doubts, Moore did get re-elected, multiple times. Within four years he was able to convince all 50 states to join his legal journey against big tobacco.
The 60 Minutes interview between Mike Wallace and Moore regarding the tobacco industry whistleblower Jeffery Wigand took a while to air after facing legal threats from the industry.”We’re thinking to [ourselves], ‘Look, if 60 Minutes is afraid of these guys, then what about us?” Moore argued.”We had faith that things would come around, and they eventually did.”60 Minutes finally aired the segment in early 1996, after Wigand’s story was published in the Wall Street Journal.
Within the next two years, Moore and his partners convinced tobacco companies to settle in the massive amounts of lawsuits that had developed. Tobacco typhoons agreed to pay $250 billion over the next 25 years, although Moore announced the settlement extends further.
According to Moore, “It keeps going,” he said. “As long as they make cigarettes in this country, they keep on paying, so there’s no limit. They will keep making those payments they’re making right now—plus inflation—forever.”
During the interview, he says, “Purdue Pharma created an environment so that opioid use was okay. So if you prescribe your patients this drug, there’s less than 1 percent chance they’ll get addicted. That was a lie, a big lie.”
Bill Whitaker asked, “Can you prove that in court?” Mike Moore responded confidently, “Absolutely.” Purdue Pharma declined CBS request for an interview, however, said in a statement to 60 Minutes that “When the FDA approved oxycontin in 1995 it authorized the company to state on the label that “addiction to opioids legitimately used is very rare.” That quickly changed when the evidence of abuse skyrocketed, the company admitted in federal court in 2007 that it had misled doctors and consumers about just how addictive oxycontin really is.
The Recover is an unbiased substance abuse and mental health news provider. Helping individuals looking for the right treatment programs in their area. Also providing information on Mississippi drug rehab centers for addiction recovery.
Author: Mckenzie Santa Maria
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