In the late 1980s, many employes of big tobacco companies began to realize that the corporations were not as honest as one would hope. One such employee, Merrell Williams Jr., worked as a paralegal for Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corporation. His duties involved creating a database of documents to help that tobacco company, among others, defend lawsuits against them. These documents essentially revealed the truly harmful effects of tobacco products, and that the companies were trying to hide those effects from consumers. Merrell stole key documents from his work and tried to present them to media outlets and others who would be interested in the inside information, but no one was willing to reveal such damning information about influential corporations. Eventually, however, the documents served as essential evidence in the lawsuits that forced the tobacco companies to come to a large settlement and changed how society viewed their products. Merrell receive $1.5 million for his efforts that helped launch the lawsuit.
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