FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, APRIL 6, 1999
TDD (202) 514-1888
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE STATEMENT
The Department of Justice has entered into an agreement with the Minneapolis law firm Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P., to retain the firm's services as consultants on tobacco litigation. According to the agreement, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi will provide advice and assistance to the Justice Department's tobacco litigation team on a reduced-rate hourly billing basis through June 30, 1999.P> Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi represented the state of Minnesota and Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Minnesota in their lawsuit, State of Minnesota and Blue Cross and Blue Shield v. Philip Morris, Inc. As a result of the lawsuit and near the end of trial, the tobacco industry agreed on May 8, 1998, to pay $6.6 billion in damages to Minnesota's citizens and to submit to cigarette marketing and advertising curbs. P> "Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi is widely recognized for its success in the Minnesota litigation against the tobacco industry and for its expertise in this area of litigation," said David W. Ogden, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division. "They have devoted thousands of hours to uncovering and learning the facts relating to tobacco litigation. Their extraordinary experience in this area will be very valuable to the Department's tobacco litigation team as we prepare a plan to recover federal health care expenditures from the tobacco industry." > According to the contract, the Department of Justice will pay the firm $75 per hour and will reimburse the firm for travel costs and expenses. This represents a substantial reduction in the firm's customary billing rate. The total contract, which runs through June 30, 1999, is for a maximum of $81,670, although the contract could be extended with the agreement of both the government and the firm. P> The Department made clear that the contract did not contemplate payment to the firm of any "contingency fee" related to potential recoveries. It also made clear that only a consulting role was contemplated at this time. "At least for the foreseeable future, the litigation team itself will consist exclusively of Justice Department attorneys," Ogden said.