Depositions: Preston Tisch

Preston Tisch is the Co-chairman of Loews Corporation, a company that acquired Lorillard Tobacco in 1960. Tisch also currently owns fifty percent of the New York Giants. He and his brother Laurence Alan Tisch have been involved in a number of corporate takeovers including the acquisition of CBS, which they sold to Westinghouse Electric Corporation in 1995.

TISCH #1  TISCH SAYS HE HAS NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT WHETHER A CORPORATION THAT MAKES 40 BILLION CIGARETTES A YEAR HAS A MORAL RESPONSIBILITY TO INVESTIGATE THE PROPERTIES OF THAT PRODUCT.

State of Florida v. American Tobacco et al.

August 15, 1996

Motley: "Do you believe, sir, that a corporation that makes a product has a moral responsibility to investigate the properties of that property--of that-"

Mr. Boffa (Defense Attorney): "Object to the form of the question."

Tisch: "I believe it is a question that I can't answer. I'm not capable of answering."

Motley: "You are not capable of answering that... whether a corporation that makes 40 billion cigarettes a year has a moral responsibility to find out whether that product causes harm to their customers?"

Mr. Boffa: "Object to the form of the question."

Tisch: "I never thought about it."

Motley: "You never thought about it."

TISCH #2 TISCH CLAIMS THAT HE WAS NEVER TOLD THAT ORGANIZATIONS SUCH AS THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY HAVE LIKENED CIGARETTE SMOKING TO THE HOLOCAUST IN TERMS OF ITS ABILITY TO HARM PEOPLE.

State of Florida v. American Tobacco et al.

August 15, 1996

Motley: "Now, this letter from the American Cancer Society was addressed to Congressman Kornegay. It is in reference to a press release of January the 3rd. And then about an advertisement that was placed.

If you would look, sir, at the letter, Number 10, the first paragraph, where they put in quotes, the "commitments to honest scientific research to help resolve the controversy about smoking and health." And if you look at the ad, that uses words such as "commitments," "honest," "scientific research," "controversy," "smoking and health."

Do you see what I am talking about, sir?"

Tisch: "Yes, sir."

Motley: "Let's look at the American -- by the way, did you ever meet Mr. Lewis?"

Tisch: "No, I did not."

Motley: "You are familiar with the American Cancer Society?"

Tisch: "Yes, I am."

Motley: "Have you ever been a participant in its activities --"

Tisch: "No."

Motley: "--over your career?

Mr. Lewis on behalf of the board of directors of the American Cancer Society, says at paragraph 1, `The controversy about smoking and health continues, largely, because of the energy, time and money spent by the tobacco industry in keeping this controversy alive. Advertisements of the sort you enclose seem to me to have as their major point the reassurance to cigarette smokers that you express in your headline: The question about smoking and health is still a question.'

Is that, in fact, the headline of the ad?"

Tisch: "Yes, it is."

Motley: "That the question about smoking and health is still a question.

In 1971, sir, do you, when you joined the board of directors, do you recall whether the subject about the question about smoking and health is still a question was ever aired, a-i-r-e-d?"

Tisch: "I don't recall, sir."

Motley: "Then he goes down in the paragraph beginning, "Population studies", number 2, then there is a paragraph that says, "Population studies." Do you see that, on that --"

Tisch: "Yes, I do."

Motley: "Okay. Then he says, "The evidence" -- the second sentence -- "The evidence of the threat to health has been accepted here and abroad by every medical, scientific, and public health body that has examined the problem and expressed an opinion. The most recent such statement came from London's prestigious Royal College of Physicians which said 'Cigarette smoking is now as important a cause of death as were the great epidemic diseases such as typhoid, cholera, and tuberculosis,' and asked the government to end 'the present Holocaust- a reasonable word to describe the annual death toll (in Great Britain) of some 27,500 men and women aged 25 to 64 from the burning of tobacco.' Another in the series of brilliant reports by the United States Public Health Service and the Surgeon General will soon be issued reaffirming the evidence that smoking is a major cause of lung cancer and contributes to heart disease, emphysema and other conditions, and stressing the grave dangers to women in smoking cigarettes."

Now, in regard to that one paragraph, sir, did anyone at Lorillard communicate to you, sir, as the president of Loews at the time, that such a statement was being made, and such information was being imparted, whether it is true or not? Was this the kind of information given to you from '71 to '76 while you sat on the board of the Tobacco Institute and the Council for Tobacco Research?"

Tisch: "I don't recall. I don't believe so."

Motley: "There are some pretty strong words in there, aren't there?

Tisch: "That's correct."

Motley: "Epidemic is a strong word, isn't?"

Tisch: "Yes, it is."

Motley: "Holocaust is a terrible word, isn't it?"

Tisch: "That is correct."

Motley: "Would you like to have known that people were-- American

Cancer Society is known to you to be a responsible organization, isn't it?"

Tisch: "I assume so. Yes."

Motley: "And would you not liked to have known that someone was using these kind of words to describe the industry that you had just joined?"

Mr. Boffa: "Object to the form of the question."

Tisch: "The American Cancer Society wrote this letter, and that's their opinion and, fine, they wrote it."

Motley: "Well, but it says here that it is not just the American Cancer Society. They are saying the Royal College of Physicians of Great Britain said that -- likened it to an epidemic and Holocaust.

My point is, would you just like to have known so you could have considered it in making policy decisions?"

Mr. Boffa: "Object to the form of the question."

Motley: "Those strong words? Those strong accusations?"

Tisch: "I would like to know whatever I can."

Motley: "Yes, sir. Thank you.

Now, on page 2 down at the bottom, the last sentence, "The continued promotion and advertising of cigarettes contributes to a grave health program, it also creates a moral problem for your industry."

"You say, I know of no single individual among the hundreds of thousands of tobacco farmers, manufacturing and distribution employees and executives and retailers who believes he is profiting from poison instead of pleasure."

Mr. Lewis writes on behalf of the board of directors of the American Cancer Society, "Belief that a gun is not loaded, when experts reassure you that it is, is hardly an excuse when the gun goes off and someone is wounded or killed."

That's, again, a strong statement, is it not?"

Tisch: "By Mr. Lewis, yes."

Motley: "Yes, it is. And sir, from your public service -- I know you have a commitment to the public and the public health, don't you?"

Tisch: "The public--"

Motley: "Personally, do you?"

Tisch: "The public service, yes."

Motley: "Including public health?"

Mr. Boffa (Defense Attorney): "Object to the form of the question."

Tisch: "Anything in public service."

Motley: "And public health?"

Boffa: "Object to the form of the question."

Tisch: "If that's a part of public service."

Motley: "And you feel a moral responsibility for what your company does, do you not?"

Tisch: "Yes, I do."

Motley: "Don't you think, sir, that someone should have brought these things to your attention so you could have made a moral judgment, if not a business one, about what to do about making billions of cigarettes a year?"

Boffa: "Object to the form of the question."

Tisch: "They may have. I can't recall if they did or not."

Motley: "If they did, it didn't impact on you? You don't remember?"

Tisch: "I don't remember, sir."

TISCH EXCERPT #3 TISCH DENIES THAT THERE HAVE EVER BEEN DISCUSSIONS AT LOEWS CORPORATION ABOUT  TOBACCO AND HEALTH.

State of Florida v. American Tobacco et al.

August 15, 1996

Motley "Well, can you tell me, sir, have you-- have there been discussions at Loews at any time about cigarette smoking and lung cancer?"

Mr. Boffa (Defense Attorney): "Object to the form of the question."

Tisch: "Not that I recall."

Motley: "Never been any discussions?"

Tisch: "Not that I recall."

Motley: "Have you seen documents, sir, where questions and answers were prepared for management in the event stockholders posed questions about smoking and health issues?"

Tisch: "No, I don't recall."

Motley: "And you don't recall since 1969, over 27 years, there has never been a word mentioned at the Loews board about tobacco and health?"

Boffa: "Object to the form of the question."

Tisch: "I don't recall."

Motley: "You don't recall that a single word has ever been said at a board meeting of Loews about tobacco and health?"

Boffa: "Object to the form of the question."

Tisch: "I don't... I don't recall."

 

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