The Judge and The Historian

Ramses Delafontaine

Historians as Expert Witnesses Ramses Delafontaine

Louis M. Kyriakoudes

Louis M. Kyriakoudes

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As a specialist in the social and economic history of the 19th and 20th century United States, Kyriakoudes has published works titled The Social Origins of the Urban South: Race, Gender and Migration in Nashville and Middle Tennessee, 1890-1930 (University of North Carolina Press, 2003). He has authored articles in The Alabama ReviewAgricultural HistorySocial Science HistorySouthern Cultures, and Tobacco Control as well as in various edited collections and encyclopaedias. He is currently working on two projects: (1) a history of cigarette use in the 20th century and (2) a study of the demography of rural poverty in the American South in the 19th and 20th centuries. Kyriakoudes is the director of the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage at the University of Southern Mississippi.

In an article in the Nation from 2010, Kyriakoudes explains he has been harassed by the tobacco industry. Kyriakoudes declared in Wiener’s article that he had been deposed “at least seven or eight times” by tobacco’s legal counsel.[1] Tobacco’s legal strategy seems to be to make witnessing for the plaintiffs an even more time-consuming activity, which involves risks for their own financial situation and research. Kyriakoudes told Wiener: “I’ve cut back a lot of what I’ve been doing” and “They hit me pretty hard, making it difficult to do my research. So I’ve pulled out of cases. I cut back to one or two trials a year. Harassment is effective.”[2]

In 2009, Kyriakoudes was involved in 12 tobacco related court cases. The following years that number dropped considerably. He worked on six cases 2010 and on five in 2011 with similar lower numbers for 2012 and 2013. Kyriakoudes has been active in as an expert witness from 2000 onward and has been involved in 66 cases. His hourly rate for testimony was $400 in 2010.[3] In 2013 Kyriakoudes declared he charged $450 an hour for his research as an expert judicial witness.[4]

Kyriakoudes has been a prominent expert witness in tobacco litigation. In 2006 he published an article in tobacco control on the subject of historical testimony in tobacco related court cases.[5] Kyriakoudes has been the research team leader in 2003 on “Public Understanding of the Risks of Tobacco Use and Passive Smoking” and “Tobacco Deposition and Trial Transcript Research Project” with Ronald Davis, M.D. as the principal investigator. The project is funded by the National Cancer Institute and the American Legacy Foundation to the Michigan Public Health Institute, and the Center for Tobacco Use Prevention and Research. His current research is titled: “Why We Smoke? Culture, History, and the North American Origins of the Global Tobacco Epidemic.” Kyriakoudes has, furthermore, given multiple lectures on his involvement in tobacco litigation and his research on the subject. For example, in 2013, Kyriakoudes gave a lecture entitled “Disputed Science, the Tobacco Industry, the Press, and the Public” at the Eighth World Conference of Science Journalists in Helsinki, Finland.


[1] Wiener, Jon. 2010. Re ‘Big Tobacco and the Historians’, Wiener Replies. The Nation, March 9. Accessed Oct 31 2014.

[2] Wiener, as n. 1.

[3] See affidavit of Luis Kyriakoudes, December 8, 2010, Jones v. Philip Morris. Westlaw reference: 2010 WL 9551992.

[4] See affidavit of Luis Kyriakoudes, December 2, 2013, Hartford v. R.J. Reynolds. Westlaw reference: 2013 WL 8505972.

[5] Kyriakoudes, Louis. 2006. Historians’ Testimony on ‘Common Knowledge’ of the Risks of Tobacco Use: a Review and Analysis of Experts Testifying on Behalf of Cigarette Manufacturers in Civil Litigation. Tobacco Control 15, 107-116.