Ring of Fire with Mike Papantonio & Robert Kennedy Jr.
Mike Papantonio is a senior partner of Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Echsner & Proctor, P.A., one of the largest plaintiff’s law firms in America, having handled thousands of cases throughout the nation including Asbestos, Breast Implants, Pharmaceutical Drug Litigation, Factory Farming, Securities Fraud, the Florida Tobacco Litigation, and other mass tort cases. “Pap” has received numerous multi-million dollar verdicts on behalf of victims of corporate malfeasance.
Papantonio is listed in the publications, Best Lawyers in America and Leading American Attorney. He is also a Fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the International Society of Barristers. Both organizations invite only 500 trial lawyers throughout America to participate as members. Papantonio is also a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates; the American Association for Justice (formerly the ATLA); the Southern Trial Lawyers Association; and the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers; where he served on the Board of Directors for five years. He is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer who has authored and co-authored instructional articles on handling complex litigation for trial lawyers.
Papantonio also is the founder of the cutting edge continuing legal education seminar organization, Mass Torts Made Perfect, which has and continues to train thousands of lawyers in how to better their legal practice. The organization has hosted speakers such as former President Bill Clinton, James Carville, Al Sharpton, Johnnie Cochran, Bob Woodward, Elliot Spitzer, Jack Kemp, Arianna Huffington, Dick Morris, and Paul Begala.
An author of four motivational books for lawyers, Papantonio regularly lectures at trial seminars throughout America. He is also the co-author of Air America: The Playbook; listed by The New York Times as a Political Best Seller.
In 1998, Mike Papantonio teamed with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the Hudson Riverkeepers, and Water Keeper Alliance, to establish a Riverkeepers program in Northwest Florida, known as the Emerald Coastkeepers, Inc., a full-time organization that serves the community as a public advocate for the waterways of Northwest Florida. Emerald Coastkeepers and Riverkeepers are reputable for their willingness to take polluters to court. In 2001, Mike filed two lawsuits against polluters, which lead to a $70 million settlement. In 2007, as lead trial counsel in the environmental class action case of Perrine v. Dupont, Mike received a jury verdict award for a West Virginia community with an estimated value in excess of $380 million.
Mike Papantonio and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., also currently host Ring of Fire, a nationally syndicated radio show, which airs on the Air America Radio network, additionally from which Papantonio is featured in the movie, Jesus Camp, which was nominated for the 2007 Academy Award for Documentary Feature.
Papantonio is also the founder of GoLeft.TV, an innovative multi-media Internet television and video-sharing portal which provides an outlet for news, political commentary and special reports on the major issues facing Americans from the Progressive point of view. Papantonio has frequently discussed and debated these issues also on national television programs such as Good Morning America, MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. likes to say he’s been an environmentalist all his life. As a young boy, he kept pet snakes and raccoons, bred homing pigeons and pheasants in his backyard and learned to train hawks. He even considered becoming a veterinarian. Today Kennedy is widely recognized as the country’s most prominent environmental attorney, working tirelessly to safeguard the environment and public health. He is the founder and director of Pace University’s Environmental Litigation Clinic in White Plains, New York; president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an international coalition of 99 grassroots groups; and senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council. The peripatetic Kennedy also crisscrosses North America several times a year, stirring audiences of college students, community groups and elected officials.
His op-ed columns appear regularly in The New York Times and other major newspapers. In 2004, he wroteCrimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy. The bestselling book fulfilled a lifelong dream: At the age of 10 Kennedy had told his father, then a United States Senator from New York, that he wanted to write a book about pollution. March 2005 brought another literary milestone: his first children’s book, St. Francis of Assisi. He is also co-author ofThe Riverkeepers.
Kennedy’s indefatigable drive is sustained by his personal connection to the outdoors –he’s a master falconer, an accomplished kayaker, skier, sailor, and fisherman–and by fatherhood. His four sons and two daughters range in age from three to 20, which gives him the long view. Despoiling our air, land, and water may make corporations richer in the short term because they don’t address the costs of pollution, he says, but it steals from the next generation. “Our children are going to pay for our joyride. And they are going to pay for it with denuded landscapes and poor health and huge cleanup costs that they are never going to be able to afford.”
Kennedy sees the lack of environmental protection under the Bush administration as emblematic of a much larger problem, “a kind of corporate crony capitalism that is antithetical to all the values that we cherish.”
“Really all environmental injury is an assault on democracy,” he says, “because the most important measure of how a democracy is functioning is how it distributes the goods of the land – the commons.”
Excerpted with permission from “A Kennedy in Action” by Elliott Negin, published in OnEarth magazine.www.nrdc.org/onearth