MONTREAL—As a historic $27-billion class-action lawsuit against three tobacco companies slowly edges forward, the court debated Monday about whether to accept the testimony of expert witness Robert Proctor.

A professor at Stanford University who calls himself an expert in the history of science, Proctor wrote a book on big tobacco called The Golden Holocaust and has called cigarette companies “world-class liars.”

That would be one of the kinder things Proctor has said about tobacco companies. The professor has also called cigarette firms: drug lords; child abusers; cancer mongers; death dealers; RICO racketeers; and has compared the companies to cockroaches.

Having pocketed over a $1 million testifying against big tobacco, lawyers for Imperial Tobacco, JTI MacDonald and Rothmans Benson & Hedges objected to Proctor’s testimony. The witness is not an expert in addiction, epidemiology or science, but he is an expert in the history those fields.

The class action lawsuit is seeking $105,000 for each smoker diagnosed with cancer since 1998, and $10,000 for each smoker who can’t quit because of nicotine’s addictive nature. All told, 8,000 of nearly two million smokers in Quebec have come forward to be part of the class action lawsuit.

The defence won’t being to present its case until next year.