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Whistleblower Can Withdraw, But Not Re-file, Privacy Invasion Claim

July 2, 1996

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ The former tobacco executive who accused Brown & Williamson of lying about the dangers of nicotine can withdraw an invasion of privacy claim against the company, a judge ruled Tuesday.

But if he does, he can’t re-file the claim later, Jefferson County Circuit Judge Steve Mershon ruled.

Jeffrey Wigand filed a counterclaim in February accusing B&W of invading his privacy by giving the media a dossier about his past.

Wigand is being sued by his former employers for allegedly breaking a confidentiality agreement by talking to the media about the tobacco industry.

B&W has said that Wigand’s effort to withdraw the invasion of privacy claim is an attempt to avoid the topic of his past when he is questioned by B&W attorneys in a deposition scheduled for July 15.

``We have always said this was a ploy by Wigand to avoid answering under oath the allegations he made in his claim against B&W,″ the company said in a statement.

John Aldock, a Washington, D.C., attorney who represents Wigand, previously said that his client’s past shouldn’t be addressed at the upcoming deposition. He has said the company is trying to divert attention from Wigand’s allegations by focusing on his client’s past.

Wigand had wanted to reserve the right to re-file the invasion of privacy claim at a later date. But Mershon ruled on Tuesday that if he withdraws the counterclaim, he cannot re-file it.

Attorneys for Wigand did not return phone calls to the Associated Press on Tuesday.

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