Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Attorney: Investors Concerned

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Attorney: Investors Concerned

Article excerpt

When Norwood S. "Woody" Wilner speaks, people listen. Especially

if they own stock in tobacco companies.

The Jacksonville attorney and arch enemy of the tobacco

industry was amused to discover he was partly to blame for a

plunge in cigarette company stocks Thursday.

During a tobacco litigation conference in Atlanta on Thursday,

Wilner unveiled a docu ment in Atlanta he plans to use in a

Jacksonville lung cancer case scheduled next month against

R.J. Reynolds. The document is a 1962 R.J. Reynolds study

linking cigarettes to health problems.

"I think it illustrates how concerned they [investors] are when

they see part of the company is engaged in wrongdoing," Wilner

said of the stock market reaction. "Perhaps RJR has not been

honest with its shareholders."

The study states in part: "Obviously the amount of evidence

accumulated to indict cigarette smoke as a health hazard is

overwhelming. The evidence challenging such an indictment is

scant."

It was written by Alan Rodgman of Reynolds' chemical research

division in 1962. Reynolds officials said Thursday the Rodgman

memo was neither new nor secret and had been produced in

previous lawsuits.

Martin Feldman, a tobacco stock analyst with Smith Barney in

New York, agreed.

"Norwood Wilner did do his best to try and suggest to the

market that he had new information. He didn't," Feldman said.

Feldman said the information has been in the courtroom in

several lawsuits and was included in the landmark Surgeon

General's report in 1964.

But while it may be in the public domain, it has not been

public knowledge, according to Wilner.

Wilner said Wall Street tobacco stock analysts came up to him

"in droves" at the seminar, in search of information regarding

his lawsuits against tobacco companies.

His reputation is even stretching overseas. The lawyer flew to

London two weeks ago to address a convention of British

stockbrokers who specialize in tobacco stocks. …

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