FAMRIFlight Attendant Medical Research Institute
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She also said the two lawyers had asked her questions about FAMRI criteria for funding medical research, and also asked for FAMRI funds to help cover litigation costs.
One, Olivia Chambers, was represented by Hunter and received a letter from him two months after the FAMRI petition was filed asking for permission for him to proceed.
Raiti Waemess noted she was one of Gerson's clients and claimed when she objected to the FAMRI action, he withdrew as her counsel.
One in the group of attorneys representing the attendants in their individual claims also submitted an affidavit saying the attorneys had employed a group approach and that Young and Blissard had freely shared information about FAMRI. That attorney also said all of his flight attendant cases had been gone over by one of the attorneys joining with Hunter and Gerson in the FAMRI action.
Hunter and Gerson submitted affidavits saying they had no conflicts, and Hunter said any conflict he had was resolved when he withdrew from representing Blissard and Chambers, and said he had never received any confidential information about Young and Blissard's activities with FAMRI. Gerson filed an affidavit saying he never had an attorney-client relationship with Young or Blissard and that they had not disclosed to him information about themselves, their cases, or FAMRI.
Blissard said he had never sought FAMRI funding for the individual suits, and he had only filed Waemess' suit at the request of another counsel because of statute of limitations issues.
Polston concluded, "The conflict of interest in this case existed long before Gerson and Hunter undertook the litigation against FAMRI and should have been apparent to both Gerson and Hunter."
It existed for Hunter, he said, when the idea of suing FAMRI was raised, because his client Blissard was on the FAMRI board and such a suit was adverse to her interests.
"[T]he record establishes that Hunter did not even seek out Blissard's consent; rather, she independently learned of the plan to file a petition against FAMRI and contacted Hunter directly to express her objections," Polston wrote.
FAMRI established the CIA to stimulate novel medical and clinical scientific research studies on the effects of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke.
FAMRI's CoE will be the centerpiece to linking physicians and scientists from various disciplines into multidisciplinary programs in patient care and research.
FAMRI does not support individuals who or institutions that are currently receiving funds from the tobacco industry or its affiliates.