Minnesota lawyers took on Big Tobacco, with spectacular success and now Minnesota attorney, Jeff Anderson, takes on another rather formidable opponent, the Holy See. Anderson’s complaint is here, and a list of media links is here.
There is more to the parallel than the David v. Goliath angle. In both situations, the lawyers have had proven track records before taking on “the big case” and also the cases followed a steadily increasing drumbeat of earlier, smaller, cases against the huge adversaries. (Reminiscent of Gladwell’s tipping point — the question is whether the social/political/legal culture has reached a tipping point?).
Against Big Tobacco, the bet paid off, but we might not know for years whether Anderson will emerge triumphant or humbled (cf. Jan Schlichtmann’s failed suit against W.R. Grace about a Woburn, MA cancer cluster and groundwater contamination recounted in A Civil Action by Jonathan Haar).
[Update: Today the Vatican issued an announcement that the complaint lacks merit.]