The Judge and The Historian

Ramses Delafontaine

Historians as Expert Witnesses Ramses Delafontaine

Augustus M. Burns III

Augustus M. Burns III

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A lecture series has been organized annually since 2000 to recognize Burns’ contributions. Guest speakers on the first memorial lecture included historian Stephen Ambrose, who has also testified as an expert for the tobacco industry.[1] Burns was deposed in two cases. In his deposition in Engle v. R.J. Reynolds, Burns acknowledged that he made $100 an hour for his litigation-driven work.[2] In Florida v. American Tobacco, Burns was also questioned on his remuneration:

“Q. What does it add up to, do you know, in terms of compensation to you over this period of time?

A. $75,000, $80,000.

Q. What is your annual salary there at the university?

A. $52,000 a year.”[3]

In two years Burns got paid by the tobacco companies for his work as an expert witness amounting to 80 % of his normal salary that he received from his university.


[1] Consulted via Accessed 31 Oct 2014.

[2] See deposition of Augustus Burns, November 6, 1998, Engle v. R.J. Reynolds. Westlaw reference: 1998 WL 35273084.

[3] See deposition of Augustus Burns, May 9, 1997, Florida v. R.J. Reynolds. Westlaw reference: 1997 WL 34665268.