January 15th, 2021

Attorney Fred Levin, who fought tobacco industry, dies at 83


By The Associated Press on January 12, 2021.

PENSACOLA, Fla. – Florida attorney Fred Levin, who won a major legal battle against the tobacco industry in the 1990s, died Tuesday, several days after contracting the coronavirus. He was 83.

Levin Papantonio Rafferty attorney Mark Proctor confirmed Levin’s passing from what he described as complications of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Levin’s career began in 1961 when he joined the Levin and Askew law firm founded by his brother David and Reubin Askew, the Pensacola News Journal reported.

In the 1990s, Levin was able to get the Florida Legislature to change Florida’s Medicaid law, allowing it to recoup money for the cost of treating lung cancer. That change helped Levin lead an effort to reach a $13 billion settlement with the tobacco industry.

Levin became boxing manager to fellow Pensacola native Roy Jones Jr. in 1989 and managed Jones fights to his heavyweight championship in 2003.

Levin used his success in his law career to pursue philanthropy work, donating more than $35 million. The University of Florida named its law school after Levin in 1999 after he gave $10 million to the school where he earned his undergraduate degree in 1958 and his law degree in 1961.

Levin was investigated by the Florida Bar of four separate occasions for making controversial remarks in public. One investigation in 1990 led to a public reprimand from the bar over his criticism of law enforcement prosecuting gambling crimes.

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