Mike Papantonio (born October 24, 1953) is an American torts lawyer, television presenter, writer, and radio talk show host. He has been inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He co-hosts Ring of Fire, a nationally syndicated progressive weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder, where he is referenced as America's Lawyer. In December 2016, Papantonio began hosting a program on RT America called America's Lawyer.
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- He was a warrior. There aren’t that many warriors... He genuinely loved people and the jury saw that. When he had a client at the table, they saw that the compassion that was being projected by Fred [Levin] was real.
- Quoted in ‘We lost an icon’: Attorney Fred Levin remembered by his colleagues, WKRG news, (13 January 2021)
- Corporations understand that not every legal battle is gonna make it to the Supreme Court. In fact, most cases won’t even make it to federal court at all. That’s why corporate dark money is starting to flood local judicial races... People have to understand that these state court judges affect the environment. They affect wage and hour. They affect every aspect of what I call the dinner table issues. That’s mom and pop talking about we don’t have enough money to pay our mortgage. We don’t have enough money to pay the rent. We can’t afford food...Mom and pop care that this local judge can shut down a union, that this local judge can destroy the environment that the local judge can affect wage and hour issues.... social issues are a problem, but what mom and pop care about when you talk about issues like this, how does this affect me?
- And finally tonight, some good news... According to reports, Warren and Sanders are the only Democrats who aren’t meeting with Wall Street big wigs... they aren’t okay with the criminal activity that Wall Street engages in that’s tanked our economy...they aren't ok with bankers gambling away mom and pop pensions... with the Democratic Party being owned by the big banks...
- Believe it or not, there are more issues than you think that unite both the left and the right and taking on Wall Street greed happens to be one of them... I’m not so sure that the Republicans really are concerned about corporate greed, but whatever has happened... we see...Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and AOC ... they’re all out there saying, look, we need to do something about corporate greed... the way that they were involved with loans... Over the most of the 20th century... you had caps... And then all of a sudden there was deregulation. And when deregulation took place, all of this bad stuff started occurring. You know, Wall Street stole from mom and pop. The economy crashed.
- Big Corporations promised that they would hire workers after getting a massive tax cut. But so far it looks like they’re pocketing all the money. ...Remember... the talking points, Republicans, oh, this is going to be great. Tax cuts, we’re going to hire more people. We’re going to pay them more. Now, you look... just the opposite has happened.They’re pocketing the money, giving all the money to the CEOs and laying thousands of people off. Corporations are always going to do what corporations do... you can’t teach them to play nice.
It’s like... trying to convince a hyena that you shouldn’t eat a dead carcass because it’s bad... Corporations right now are eating dead carcasses all over the world, not just the country... This money, $18 million, just on Ford alone, $18 million went to the CEO because of the... tax cuts. At the same time they laid off... 7,000 people... and they made $750 million. Now that’s just Ford... There are many other companies...
We all knew it was a big lie. We all knew.. the hyenas will always go after the dead carcass and the corporate hyenas are doing just that... If Trump was smart, he would say, "You know what? You can try to do that, but you’re going to be punished..."
- Texas has a new law that could result in prison sentences for up to 10 years in jail for anyone who protests a new fossil fuel pipeline. I couldn’t make that up. This is just one of the many anti protest bills that states have passed... I looked at this and it was almost as if there’s this notion that if it’s fossil fuel industry, then nothing really applies constitutionally. First Amendment really doesn’t apply. You know, the right to protest, right to free speech. I don’t know how they get here. Now let me back up and say yes, there are times when the right to protest can be controlled. You can say you can protest over here. There are times when you say that, that your speech is so angry or it’s so dangerous that it can cause harm and so we can put some kind of regulator on this. But this is crazy talk. Let me add one other point. They’re calling it riot boosting. That’s the term. Again, riot boosting... we’re talking about putting people in prison for 5 years, 10 years, $100,000 fine... If we have some honest appellate courts, in the old days when we had that, this thing would be dead on arrival.
- When you have, say MSNBC, and they’ve got eight pharmaceutical advertisements an hour and you want to do a story on Bayer because their product, Yaz, has killed women between the ages of 18-35. You would think the producers would say, “This is an important story,” but unfortunately the power of money, especially in television and cooperate media is overwhelming. You can’t tell the stories.
So what’s happened is, in order for people to hear these stories, sometimes this [legal thriller novels] is the only kind of vehicle they can have. They can read a good thriller and hopefully it’s going to be an entertaining thriller for them, but then they can walk away and say “Well, what did I learn?” In these books they learn an awful lot about the dysfunction of the Department of Justice. They learn how predatory the pharmaceutical industry is, they learn that everything is stacked against the whistle blower. So I think it opens some peoples’ eyes along the way... I think it’s kind of incumbent on a lawyer that’s writing about issues that they’re aware of to understand that maybe nobody else is aware of them and to try to get those stories out.
- Power is found in conviction... When I think about everything that I have spent my time doing and drill right down to why, it’s out of conviction... The reason I do this thing with the media, whether it’s MSNBC, Free Speech TV or RT Network, is because I came up kind of a victim... When you come up on the other side of the country club wall and you realize that there is no effort at all to help from that side, your reaction is to reject all that... I think I would be a pretty good golfer, but I can’t associate with that whole culture of the country club. I grew up so far on the other side that my conviction draws me to do what I do...
Every profession has the good and the bad, and we certainly have our share of the bad, but most people don’t ever take the time to realize that they are victims every day. If not for the efforts of trial lawyers, they’d continue to be victims... We have safer cars and safer pharmaceuticals because of trial lawyers... We push back Wall Street when they try to steal from mom and pop’s pension programs. Without trial lawyers, there would be nobody pushing back with a progressive approach to politics... You have to believe in something. When you’re driven like that, it creates an energy that is a power.
- "Driven by Conviction: Mike Papantonio", Inweekly, Rick Outzen, (30 April 2014)
- "People in Pensacola ask me why I'm doing this... I could be on my boat in the Bahamas, smoking cigars, drinking whiskey and living in Pleasantville. But our country needs true patriots, people who will ask questions about what's going on around us. When I'm at Air America, I'm in a room of true patriots like the ones who fought for our freedom in 1776. We don't want to be part of the establishment. We don't want to be mindless, driveling fools. That's why I've taken time out of my practice to do this thing... We are not going away... I don't feel any big pressure now, like I did the first six months.
- The music leading up to a fiery Hitler speech needs to sound more spooky to Mike Papantonio. Playing it over and over again in a cramped, makeshift studio on the fifth floor in his downtown Pensacola office, Papantonio wants the bells to echo more. The scary tune will lead the "Ring of Fire" radio show that Papantonio co-hosts with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Air America Radio. The music fittingly introduces an investigative piece about white supremacist Ron Wilson, a David Duke follower, who recently earned appointment to South Carolina's state Board of Education. The 51-year-old estimates he spends about 80 percent of his time working on producing his weekly radio show or working on growing Air America Radio, which was launched in March 2004 as an alternative to conservative-dominated AM talk radio...
After earning a University of Florida journalism degree, Papantonio spent the next 25 years becoming one of the country's most respected trial lawyers. As head of mass torts at Pensacola's Levin Papantonio law firm he has handled major cases throughout the nation, including asbestos, breast implants, Fen-Phen and Florida's tobacco litigation.
Then, he heard about the creation of Air America Radio. He didn't need to see a business plan, he simply believes in the product.And Air America insiders are glad he did. During the first week, Papantonio recalls a 2 a.m. meeting in New York with a handful of Air America executives where the fledgling, ...network was hours from shutting down without a quick cash infusion.
- Pensacola-based attorney Mike Papantonio is no stranger to drug companies and the courtroom, he’s one of the most respected names in personal injury law in the country. Through his decades of experience, he’s seen a lot of serious cases, many involving deadly drugs, but said none can compare to the opioid epidemic. "I've seen some really bad ones, Fen-phen, for example, just killed hundreds of people, but it had an end. This has no end,” Papantonio said. He’s taken tobacco companies to task, but said it pales in comparison to what’s being seen with opioids. “It [tobacco] took 20 years, 30 years sometimes to kill you, this kills you tomorrow, this kills you today,” Papantonio explained... He said he doesn’t blame doctors for the prescriptions of these deadly drugs, but rather believes blame is at the hands of the pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers. He believes some of them wrongly sold-off the drugs without fully explaining the dangers of the painkillers. Now he wants to hold them accountable and the best way to do that he said is to hit them in the wallet.. He said at the end of the day it’s not about book sales, settlements or even burden on the taxpayers, but the true cost of the crisis, which is the suffering felt by the addicts and their families. “It's destroying families. When I talk to you about dependency court, there's children every day being taken away from both parents because both parents are drug addicts,” Papantonio said.