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Ronald Motley: The Lawyer Who Beat Big Tobacco
Posted By Patrick Kiger On August 30, 2013 @ 11:31 am In Legacy | Comments Disabled
If Ronald Lee Motley  hadn’t existed, some novelist or screenwriter surely would have made him up: a high-powered, flamboyant attorney with a smooth-as-silk Southern drawl who fancied ostrich-skin cowboy boots and liked to sail on a 165-foot yacht named after Themis, the female Greek titan of law, whenever he wasn’t in a courtroom whacking corporate bigwigs around like so many piñatas.
Motley, who died on Aug. 22 at age 68  in Charleston, S.C., was both so larger-than-life colorful and so effective that he did actually become a character in a Hollywood movie : 2ooo’s The Insider, in which the only slightly fictionalized version of him, portrayed by actor Bruce McGill, dresses down a tobacco industry executive and his lawyer.
Motley is most famous for taking on the tobacco industry in the 1990s over the health costs of smoking , which it had known about but kept secret for years, and forcing cigarette companies to pay out a massive $246 billion settlement – the biggest such payout in history. It was a victory that brought his law firm at least $1 billion in fees, according to news reports.
But Motley also took on a wide range of other powerful interests, from asbestos manufacturers – he forced them to pay out millions in damages to injured workers – to the wealthy Saudi nationals whom he accused  of bankrolling the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Here are some intriguing facts about Motley:
Photo: Motley Rice Law Firm
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URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/08/30/ronald-motley-the-lawyer-who-beat-big-tobacco/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/ronaldmotley.jpg
 Ronald Lee Motley: http://www.motleyrice.com/attorneys/view/ronald-l-motley
 died on Aug. 22 at age 68: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/ronald-l-motley-dies-at-68-pioneered-tobacco-litigation/2013/08/23/eef5bdd0-0c0f-11e3-9941-6711ed662e71_story.html
 movie: http://blog.aarp.org/author/newcottblog/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-BL
 Image: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFqYn3i_UQ0
 health costs of smoking: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/07/30/older-smokers-need-yearly-lung-cancer-screening/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-BL
 whom he accused: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/14/magazine/a-nation-unto-himself.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm
 medical expert: http://blog.aarp.org/author/healthycandy/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-BL
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