Legal Reconstituting Scientific Evidence in Korean Tobacco Litigation: Analyzing the Debate on the Research Results Published By Korea Ginseng & Tobacco Research Institute

Monday, 16 July 2018: 15:46
Oral Presentation
Jinyoung PARK, Seoul National University, Republic of Korea
In 1999, six smokers and their families filed a tobacco lawsuit against Korea Tobacco and Ginseng Corp. and the government of the Republic of Korea claiming damages for smokers' cancer. This paper analyzed the controversy of scientific research published by Korea Ginseng and Tobacco Research Institute, a research institute under the Korea Tobacco and Ginseng Corporation. The plaintiff tried to disclose the scientific research results of the Korean Ginseng and Tobacco Research Institute in the Korean lawsuit, paying attention to the fact that the internal documents of the tobacco company were disclosed in the United States. However, the defendant used three strategies and made internal tobacco research documents not accepted as reliable evidence to prove plaintiff's claim in court. The defendant first questioned the hazards of the substance itself contained in cigarettes and the credibility of the experimental results. Second, the research subject of Korea Ginseng and Tobacco Research Institute was limited to ‘domestic tobacco’. Third, the research capacity of the researchers was lowered by themselves. Due to the defendant's strategy, the tobacco research document released by the plaintiff's efforts was not accepted as reliable evidence in court. In addition to analyzing the defendant's strategy, this paper examines the effect of defendant’s refusal strategy on judge’s judgment. In particular, during the court dispute over the tobacco research paper of the Korea Ginseng and Tobacco Research Institute, the defendant conducted a boundary work on tobacco, scientific evidence, and ability to conduct research. This understanding of the tobacco lawsuit, which focuses on the controversy between plaintiffs and defendants in the actual court, the defendant's strategy and the constitution of the value of the evidence, can be interpreted as a new interpretation of the judgment.