Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, August 18, 2006

Litigation and Big Tobacco

When the major tobacco companies were being investigated and sued for millions of deaths and injuries, their biggest refrain was “too much litigation,” “too many lawyers,” “too many lawsuits.” Now it seems some of these Big Tobacco executives have changed their minds, and they’ve decided that lawsuits are kinda fun.

A virtually unknown cigarette manufacturer in rural Washington is being sued by Marlboro. Supposedly their cigarette pack looks too much like the Marlboro pack, and Marlboro is suing for trademark infringement.

Who is this big threat to Marlboro? His name is Delbert Wheeler, Sr. He owns a small logging company and lives on the Yakama reservation in central Washington. Last year Wheeler decided to singlehandedly bring Big Tobacco to its knees started supplementing his income by making cigarettes and selling them to retailers on the reservation. The brand name is King Mountain.

So, one of the wealthiest corporations in the world is suing an individual Native American who’s trying to supplement his income with a small business. Sort of like Goliath hitting David with a slingshot.


Blogger carrie said...

how lame!

August 18, 2006 at 8:18 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Ain't that the truth.

August 18, 2006 at 8:45 PM  
Blogger Ricardo said...

Just when I think it hits bottom, the stupidity of corporate America reaches a new low.

August 19, 2006 at 7:34 PM  
Blogger Jolly Roger said...

They proved themselves hypocrites a long time ago.

You're not far from me in age, so you know that they spent two decades and a whole lot of money trying to convince people that the warnings the Government forced them to put on cigarettes was bogus-I clearly remember one of them on "GMA" back in the late 70s saying it wouldn't worry him at all if his pregnant daughter continued to smoke.

When they finally got called on their bullshit, they tried to say that people couldn't sue them because of the warning THAT THEY HAD SPENT THE LAST TWENTY-ODD YEARS FIGHTING AND DECLARING BOGUS.

No wonder Big Tobacco always supports the Goppers.

August 19, 2006 at 10:30 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

That's disgusting. Much as I tend to loathe John Stossel, I got a kick out of his story on 20/20 last night. Seems some guy was making furniture out of FedEx boxes and he put up a website that showed some of what he had done, gave instructions on how to make things with the boxes, etc. So what did FedEx do but threaten the guy, who wasn't trying to make money off the FedEx name or logo or anything like that.

Maybe corporations are beginning to become a bit paranoid?

August 19, 2006 at 10:54 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Ricardo: Yup, the excesses of corporate America never seem to reach bottom. There’s always room to sink even lower.

Jolly Roger: I remember all the claims and counterclaims, and tobacco executives (during their congressional hearings) being just shocked that cigarettes might cause lung diseases. And then saying they couldn’t be sued because of the warning labels which they had fought against. Yeah, these are the kinds of people who keep purchasing Congress and the White House for the Republicans.

Snave: I hadn’t heard about the lawsuit by FedEx, but it’s not surprising. After all there’s a guy who claims he “owns” Elvis Presley’s name and image, and he’s planning to start suing Elvis impersonators. And a few years ago, a furniture store called Grammy Goose was sued by Granny Goose for trademark infringement. Yup, I keep having trouble telling the difference between a chair and a potato chip. These people are too paranoid, or too anal, or something.

August 20, 2006 at 1:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no love for the big tobacco companies, but the statement of Mr. Wheeler "supplementing" his income is somewhat of a farce. The guy has a few companies including a $15M logging business.... yes he is small time to Phillip Morris Co., but his intent is quite obvious.

January 11, 2010 at 7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wheeler is no different than any other gangster with a 6th grade education. Always looking for the easy way even if it hurts the Yakama Nation. He is cutting down all the trees, paid for his own tribal council, paid to be an Indian and yes copied Phillip Morris too. Can't do anything but steal from other people!!!

October 10, 2010 at 1:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I ditto Anonymous statement above...I would like to add...his so called "small" operation got raided recently by the feds, for not paying fines. He also is exempt from paying cigarette tax...he is not going into this to supplemnent his income. He is going into this to underhandedly trying to underbid, as he doesn't have to charge tax.

March 4, 2011 at 9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't mess with the Wheelers and come out unscathed. Tribal Councilman Warren Spencer Jr. was found hanging in his home this morning. No conclusive association, just to be fair.

May 29, 2015 at 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty bold statement, he will mess with the wrong person one these days and regret it. Probably already has, i don't care who you are if you owe the government 58 million, and keep dragging it on ....well im pretty sure you can guess the outcome. As well as Phillips Morris company? Ya sorry don't think he will come out in the end with one red cent left. What they should do is take a blood sample and see if he is even of the native decent claimed to be. If he is not then case closed. Or just seize his bank accounts and auction off all his assets.

March 11, 2016 at 11:40 PM  

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