Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Fen Phen: 2 trials, $200 million in verdicts

A Pennsylvania jury decided that two former users of Wyeth's drugs taken as part of the fen-phen diet combination deserved $200 million in damages for heart problems caused by the medicine.

Jurors in Philadelphia last week found that Wyeth's weight-loss medicine scarred Margie Paul's and Elaine Karician's hearts. Jurors must still decide whether Wyeth is liable for the women's damages.

The phase of the case where jurors will determine whether Madison, New Jersey-based Wyeth is liable for the damages has been delayed until July 25, the company said in the statement.

Wyeth said that they were in settlement negotiations with Paul's and Karician's lawyers to resolve the cases as part of a global resolution of the law firms' remaining inventory of fen- phen claims.

Wyeth has been working to resolve the remainder of its fen- phen liability across the country. The company faces a trial of the first of more than 5,000 fen-phen claims filed in New Jersey starting today, May 31, 2005.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Memorial Day Idea: A non techie PDA you can "build"

In my PI practice I can see that useful items such as laptops, a Blackberry, a cell phone with a camera, a cellular portable FAX and other items can be intimidating to the normal working people I represent. I also tend to lose my cool when one of those items is lost or stolen.

Back in the early 90's I used 3 by 5 card to keep my to do lists. Well, it seems like the 3 by 5 card is making a comeback. From 43folders.com comes the "hipster PDA" which is described as:

A "Hipster PDA (Parietal Disgorgement Aid) is a fully extensible system for coordinating incoming and outgoing data for any aspect of your life and work. " It helps you assemble one in this way:

Building your first Hipster PDA

  1. Get a bunch of 3"x5" file cards
  2. Clip them together with a binder clip
  3. There is no step 3
You can even pimp your HPDA. I have pre-printed out 3 months of a calendar and taped them to a card. You can now print out grids and weekly items as well for it, go here for more information.

Good luck.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

University Study shows how COX-2 inhibitors increase stroke risk

You can find the news in detail here.

Two trials of COX-2 inhibitors conducted in 2004 at other institutions suggested that risk of cardiovascular disease might increase gradually during continued treatment with drugs such as Celebrex and Vioxx, even in individuals initially at low risk of the disease.

Additional information appeared online in the January 17, 2005 issue of Circulation and in the January 25th print edition of the journal. You can find it online here.

Congress - FDA money tempest in a teapot

In Congress, the House Appropriations Committee this week reduced nearly $6 million from the Food and Drug Administration's budget for next year after the Bush administration directed acting administrator Lester Crawford not to testify before the panel.

This same week, the House Appropriations Committee a $100 billion spending bill for the FDA, the Agriculture Department and related agencies. The measure is $93 million more than Bush requested. The committee voted to withhold $5.8 million from administrative funds for FDA.

From various sources, including yahoo.com

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Do Drug Companies "Make a Mockery" of drug trials?

NEJM's Editor in Chief hammers away at the Pharmaceutical industry in a recent article, as quoted by Newsday.com.

Dr. Drazen said that GlaxoSmithKline & Merck are "making a mockery" of efforts to create more transparency in drug clinical trials, according to a prominent medical journal editor.

Dr. Drazen is the EIC of the New England Journal of Medicine. He has said that these and other companies don't provide enough useful details in when submitting information to a government trial registry.

Drazen apparently based his comments on a review of the information drug companies posted on www.clinicaltrials.gov., which is run by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. He went so far as to say, "They (the three companies) are giving nonsense details," Drazen said in an interview on Monday. "They are written in a way that they are trying to hide what they are doing."

Last year, New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer sued GlaxoSmithKline for suppressing unfavorable studies of its antidepressants.

Editors say that cannot find out if negative data exists when they are only given glowing manuscripts. The registry is supposed to give editors, doctors and patients a complete picture of a drug's development but that would be difficult if a medicine can't be tracked through its name.

The editors have given companies until September 13, 2005 to register ongoing trials. It applies to new trials starting on or after July 1, 2005.

Drazen said that if the companies don't comply, editors will refuse to publish their studies. He said that other medical journals had adopted the registry standards of the international committee so companies that don't comply may find their choice of publication venues is limited. Drug companies often use studies published in medical journals in their marketing.

For more, go to Newsday.com.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Crestor Study shows more kidney problems: Link to article

A new study shows Crestor causes more kidney and muscle problems than rival medications.
The new study, based on side effects reported to the FDA, said kidney problems and muscle weakness were two to eight times more frequent among Crestor users than those taking other cholesterol-lowering medications like Lipitor, Zocor and Pravachol.

Results from the study published May 23, 2005 by the American Heart Association's journal Circulation can be found here.

Vioxx MDL update For May, 2005

Judge Fallon informed the lawyers Court Monday May 23, 2005 that there could ultimately be up to 100,000 cases filed against Merck over Vioxx and that he could hear a case as early as the fall.

So far, there have been more than 2,000 cases filed . Liasion counsel discussed the early battle with Merck over records of thousands of company employees engaged in marketing the drug. Mr. Herman informed that the PSC seeks details on Merck employees who marketed the drug.

A lawyer for Merck said in open court that it would be "tremendously burdensome" to provide the information. Mr. Herman countered that Merck's sales representatives were told to dodge potentially awkward questions.

The issue of FDA non compliance was a part of the hearing. Plaintiffs' counsel has been seeking to obtain information from the Food and Drug Administration . Last month, Judge Fallon was told that the FDA has not been forthcoming with requested information. Meetings between lawyers for both sides and FDA officials are set for this week with additional meetings scheduled for next month.

The next hearing is June 27, 2005 in New Orleans.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Using Google Scholar to find medical treastises on injuries

While searching for information on a specific type of fracture, I found the beta version of Google Scholar. It is worth a look. From the site, and explanation:

What is Google Scholar?

Google Scholar enables you to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research. Use Google Scholar to find articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web.

It's worth a look.

Legal News Crawler for your desktop

I'm kicking the tires on a legal news crawler for my PC desktop, brought to you by Legal Broadcast News (.com). You can find it here.

So far, the info is helpful, perhaps a bit distracting to you if you have not used a ticker on your PC in the past. Reduced to its most basic, it is just like the news crawlers you see everywhere.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Put your Firm on a postage stamp

You can market your firm in a way that you never thought of ... til now. Put your Firm, an attorney, or whatever else you desire on a postage stamp. Go here to learn more. Will it work? Who knows, but I am trying it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Lawsuit "abuse" sites on the web

It is worth reading these to see where the claims of 'frivilous' lawsuits are coming from throughout the land:

Sick of Lawsuits is brought to you by CALA. "Personal injury lawyer advertisements often use misleading, inflammatory and baseless claims that can confuse consumers and scare them into thinking they have been harmed. " Really? Have these guys had a chance to check the Florida Bar rules, which had prohibited a firm from using different colors of ice cream in an ad?

Land of Lawsuits is courtesy of the Illinois Campain for Legal Reform.

In my opinion these groups don't seek reform, they seek denial of access to the courts.

Accutane Study: No increased risk for depression?

On the radio, TV and on various sources:

A small study fails to link the use of the acne drug Accutane to severe depression or suicide. The findings are reported in the May issue of the journal Archives of Dermatology. There is no direct proof to back up the claim, says psychiatrist Douglas G. Jacobs, who is a consultant to the drug's manufacturer, Roche Labs.

Comment: I see. A consultant to Roche Labs- the maker of Accutane - says there is no direct proof to back up the claim that Accutane may lead to depression in teens. Seems like an unbiased source, doesn't it?

In Atlanta, Emory University's psychiatrist J. Douglas Bremner, MD, noted that this study was too small to answer many questions about whether Accutane causes depression. Of the 132 patients enrolled, 59 were treated with Accutane and 73 were prescribed antibiotics and topical creams.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Crestor label changes

On May 13, 2005, the FDA posted on its MedWatch web site their summary of Crestor label changes. You can read them in part here:

In clinical trials, the incidence of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis increased at doses of rosuvastatin above the recommended dosage range (5 to 40 mg). In postmarketing experience, effects on skeletal muscle, e.g. uncomplicated myalgia, myopathy and, rarely, rhabdomyolysis have been reported in patients treated with HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors including rosuvastatin. As with other HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, reports of rhabdomyolysis with rosuvastatin are rare, but higher at the highest marketed dose (40 mg). Factors that may predispose patients to myopathy with HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors include advanced age (≥65 years), hypothyroidism, and renal insufficiency.

Rosuvastatin should be prescribed with caution in patients with predisposing factors for myopathy, such as, renal impairment, advanced age, and inadequately treated hypothyroidism.

The 40 mg dose of rosuvastatin is reserved only for those patients who have not achieved their LDL-C goal utilizing the 20 mg dose of rosuvastatin once daily.

Rosuvastatin therapy should also be temporarily withheld in any patient with an acute, serious condition suggestive of myopathy or predisposing to the development of renal failure secondary to rhabdomyolysis (e.g., sepsis, hypotension, dehydration, major surgery, trauma, severe metabolic, endocrine, and electrolyte disorders, or uncontrolled seizures).

More details about this safety-related label change can be found in the "FDA Public Health Advisory on Crestor (rosuvastatin)" document which was issued on March 2, 2005. That document can viewed here.

Study shows no Med-Mal crisis

A study of Illinois medical malpractice cases released last week rejects the view that out-of-control jury verdicts and case filings are causing insurance rates to skyrocket and doctors to flee to less litigious states.

Duke University law professor Neil Vidmar concluded that while doctors’ liability premiums are rising, factors other than the tort system are to blame. The Illinois State Bar Association commissioned Vidmar to conduct the study.

The study can be found here. It is in PDF format.

According to the report, there is an "upward or steady trend" for physicians entering the State to practice specialties such as obstetrics and gynecology and neurological surgeons.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Handling Deposition Objections

I recently resolved a case where defense counsel either had no idea how to make an objection during a depostion, learned how to make objections from an old crusty lawyer, or simply wanted to be difficult. It is now so bad here in metro Atlanta with certain firms that I actually carry with me a deposition caselaw binder.

Improper Speaking Objections.

There is trend of selective adherence to civil procedure rules. This selective adherence has led to overly aggressive lawyers making "speaking objections" which do not instruct the witness not to answer but suggest an answer to the witness.

I will cite state law, but also use the Federal Rules as another nail: Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(d)(1) states "Any objection to evidence during a deposition shall be stated concisely and in a non-argumentative and non-suggestive manner." I also have Phillips, Id.; Hall, Id.; Civatrese v. Gorney, 358 Mass. 652, 266 N.E. 2d 668 (Mass. 1971) in my quiver.

Laying the ground rules early: The difficult Firm or Attorney.

For the first time I have had to resort to writing to counsel beforehand in a case. My letter sets out what is listed below. I informed counsel that unless we reach agreement on these issues , I will ask for a Case Management Conference (with an Order) on these points. I also told them that I will attach excerpts from the last deposition with that Firm. Here is what I wrote:

1. At the beginning of the deposition, deposing counsel shall instruct the witness to ask deposing counsel, rather than witness' own counsel, for clarifications, definitions, or explanations of any words, questions, or documents presented during the course of the deposition. The witness shall abide by these instructions.

2. All objections, except those which would be waived if not made at the deposition, and those necessary to assert a privilege, to enforce a limitation on evidence directed by the court, or to present a motion pursuant to relevant law, shall be preserved. Therefore, those objections need not and shall not be made during the course of depositions.

3. Counsel shall not direct or request that a witness not answer a question, unless that counsel has objected to the question on the ground that the answer is protected by a privilege or a limitation on evidence directed by the court. .

4. Counsel shall not make objections or statements which might suggest an answer to a witness. Counsel's statements when making objections shall be succinct and verbally economical, stating the basis for the objection and nothing more.

5. Counsel and their witness-clients shall not engage in private, off-the-record conferences during depositions or during breaks or recesses, except for the purpose of deciding whether to assert a privilege.

6. Any conferences which occurs pursuant to, or in violation of, guideline above are a proper subject for inquiry by deposing counsel to determine whether there has been any witness - coaching.

7.Deposing counsel shall provide to the witness' counsel a copy of all documents shown to the witness during the deposition. The copies shall be provided either before the deposition begins or contemporaneously with the showing of each document to the witness. The witness and the witness's counsel do not have the right to discuss documents privately before the witness answers questions about them.

If there is no agreement on all points, I simply go to the Judge .

Videotaping the first deposition.

I now almost always videotape a the first deposition that I take with opposing counsel that has a reputation of being difficult. I find that usually that will tamp down the manner in which counsel acts. But now always. One firm had a young lawyer literally jump out of his chair, on camera, when about 2 hours into a deposition he objected and shouted "asked and answered!"
How do you handle it?

A Website that may help analyze hand injuries

I recently helped a client who had suffered a very bad scaphoid fracture. Searching the web I came across e-hand.com. The site is well done, and addresses all things hand related.

The site sets out plainy subjects such as injury descriptions, treatments and protocols, and images. It's worth a look.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

U.S. Senator's Memo Re: Marketing of Vioxx to Physicians

The Marketing of Vioxx to Physicians - a Memo by a United States Senator. You can find it here. It's in PDF format, 29 pages.

Worth a read.

US DCT: Rule 11 and Groundless litigation

You can find a recent United State District Court survey regarding Rule 11 on the web now, go here for the information.

Do judges think that groundless litigation is a big problem?

Nearly 85% of the district judges consider groundless litigation [in cases where the plaintiff is represented by counsel] as no more than a small problem. Another 12% see such litigation as a moderate problem.

Only 3% of the bench views groundless litigation brought by plaintiffs who are represented by counsel as a large or very large problem.

Good reading.

Bextra back on the market?

Chairman and Chief Executive Hank McKinnell said on Tuesday the pharmaceutical company's suspended arthritis drug Bextra likely may return to the market because it was needed by patients.

Pfizer suspended sales of Bextra in April after U.S. and European regulators said the risk of serious side effects from the drug, including a potentially fatal skin allergy, outweighed benefits.

The Food and Drug Administration asked Pfizer to pull Bextra from the U.S. market, claiming provided no added advantage as a painkiller and could cause a potentially life-threatening condition called Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

The allergic skin reaction usually begins as a blistering of the mouth and lips and can spread to the rest of the body.

The agency is open to discussions with Pfizer according to the FDA, but it has stated that it believes Bextra's risks outweigh its benefits.

In an April 6 memo outlining the FDA's views on COX-2 and other painkillers, agency officials said they were open to allowing "limited access" to Bextra in clinical trials if Pfizer proposed new studies.

The agency would reassess the drug if the studies showed an advantage over other arthritis medicines, the memo said.

Pfizer, which disagrees with the regulatory decisions on Bextra, has been exploring options with regulators under which it might be allowed to resume sales of the drug. Bextra had sales of $1.3 billion in 2004.

Analysts said Bextra would face an uphill battle even if it were cleared for a comeback.

<>Eeven if it came back it would not be commercially successful because of its perceived risks, in my opinion.

This information is culled from various sources, including Reuters, AP, and yahoo.com.

How not to get cases referred to you

Last week I posted a comment about befriending your competitor which you can find by clicking here. It discussed how you can generate business from someone who may be a competitor in your city or region.

Today's comment addresses what happens after a case is referred by my office to another firm as co-counsel or as lead counsel. The referral may happen because of that Firm's stated expertise in a certain area of the law, or a conflict at my office, or any number of reasons. I consider my firm a market maker - that is, we generate many cases each year. Often, I may call a lawyer about referring not one, but many of a particular type of case. When the cases are referred, I may act as in house counsel asking for information from time to time on a regular basis.

So, if you want to obtain a referral, and you want to screw up the relationship and perhaps never do business again, just follow this set of guidelines:

1.Don't timely return my calls. After all, I'm the guy who spent the time to investigate the case.

2.Don't timely return the calls of our mutual client. There is nothing I like more than having to address a client who is in the dark about a case in the hands of co-counsel. I also enjoy having a client tell me that co-counsel has been called "X times" without a return call.

3.Don't keep me informed on the progress of litigation. As part of my referral agreement, I ask that co-counsel update me every 90 days. It may simply be an email that says "depositions are upcoming. " Even though that is told up front, it may not be followed.

4.Don't tell me either the good or the bad as to settlement prospects. There is nothing I like better than getting a closed file letter on a case I was told would perhaps settle to the client's benefit.

5.Don't bother to follow up.

6.Forget to include me on any pleadings. I always insist on this.

7. Treat me as if the case referred by me, which I believe or know to be significant, isn't.

In general, if you can follow all of the "dont's" when it comes to clients in your own office with me, you're set. That way, you won't have to worry about getting any more potential cases from my office.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Vioxx Trials #1 and #2: Starting July 11, 2005

The first trial (a wrongful death action) regarding Vioxx is likely to be scheduled for July 11 in Texas.

Attorney Mark Lanier filed a request on District Court of Brazoria County, Texas, asking that the case begin the week of July 11. He said he chose the timing based on instructions from the Court and expected the request to be granted.

Which case is likely case #2? A case is set for the week of August 1, 2005 in Atlantic City, N.J., under Judge Carol Higbee. In that case, plaintiff lawyer Christopher Seeger alleges Vioxx caused the 2001 heart attack of his client, Michael Humeston

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Denver Post article discussing Vioxx

The May 10, 2005 issue of the Denver Post online has a story about a man in his 50's who took Vioxx and claimed it caused his heart attack; you can read the article here.

Interestingly, the article notes the man's initial reluctance to pursue a potential claim: "I have mixed feelings about medical malpractice suits," Honea said. He believes Vioxx has taken years off his life, so he has contacted a Denver attorney, who is preparing his case."

Having reviewed many hundreds of potential Vioxx claims, I have yet to see one instance where a doctor has done anything wrong that rises to the level of medical malpractice. In fact, most are not very pleased (to put it politely) that information may have been withheld.

The article closes with one quote from the man that's noteworthy:
"This is a corporation putting profits over any reasonable regard for people's lives."

Drug companies: A five part report on the Street:

The Street.com has the first of five parts detailing the inherent conflicts and issues facing drug companies in issuing and promoting pharmaceuticals. You can go here to read more.

The series seems to be off to a good start, information wise. The Street.com's reporter notes: "Public leaders have begun to question how companies manage to gain regulatory approval of drugs like Vioxx and then turn them into wildly profitable blockbusters. And they have come to recognize the industry's incredible influence -- over drug development, approval and even consumption -- in the process."

It's worth reading especially when you see this:
"During a recent in-depth study, U.K. leaders uncovered plenty that troubled them. For starters, they found that drug companies can specifically design clinical trials to deliver favorable -- but possibly misleading -- outcomes. Richard Nicholson, editor of the Bulletin of Medical Ethics, cited a Merck trial of Vioxx as one example .

'We wondered to ourselves why on earth Merck wants to compare this with naproxen,' a drug popularly known as Aleve, Nicholson said. "They did not give us the details initially, and then when we asked and asked, we finally found out they had already carried out major trials against the two major anti-inflammatory drugs ... and found absolutely no advantage of their drug."

It's compelling reading and I look forward to the remainder of the segments.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Link to Vioxx documents detailed @ Congressional Hearings

The public was given a glimpse into the world of drug marketing as lawmakers released confidential Merck documents that detail how a sales army pushed Vioxx before it was pulled.

Don't bring up the heart risks, warns a Feb. 9, 2001, memo from a Merck employee regarding Vioxx and the pitch to doctors.

And when doctors asked about those risks, the Merck sales reps were to refer to a "cardiovascular card" with data suggesting that Vioxx could be safer than other anti-inflammatory drugs. Yet the card, also released Thursday, doesn't include the very study that raised the first warning signal regarding Vioxx.

The documents were released at a hearing of the House Government Reform Committee. Take a look at the materials by going here.

One congressman noted: :When it comes to the one thing doctors most needed to know about Vioxx -- its health risks -- Merck's answer seems to be disinformation and censorship."

Interestingly enough, during the hearing FDA drug chief Dr. Steven Galson told lawmakers that the agency is taking steps to improve awareness by the public and doctors of potential drug risks as soon as they arise. My comment: Really now? I urge you to read the two blog entries below- in both instances, after FDA- alleged "misleading" ads had run, it took more than SIX months in each instance for the FDA to slap the drug maker on the wrist. "As soon as they arise" Dr. Galson?

Dr. Galson said that what was happening with Vioxx wasn't clear-cut until the research was completed last summer. He admitte that it may have taken too long to put a new warning label on the drug.


Zoloft Ad misleads, FDA informs Pfizer

A Pfizer Inc. ad Zoloft left out an important warning about the risks of worsening depression or suicidal behavior in patients taking the drug, U.S. regulators said late Friday May 6, 2005. The failed to include a serious risk associated with the drug the FDA told Pfizer via letter.

The Food and Drug Administration told Pfizer to immediately stop using any similar promotional materials that omitted the warning. The original ad ran in The New York Times Magazine in October 2004.

<>The FDA asked Pfizer and other antidepressant makers more than one year ago to add warnings about the possibility that patients taking the drugs could experience worsening depression or suicidal thoughts or actions. Pfizer added the warning to the Zoloft label in July 2004 but failed to include the new information in the magazine ad, the FDA letter said.

Comment: Again, a huge pharmaceutical is told (in March of 2004) to add a warning. In a direct to consumer ad printed more than six months after the FDA's directive, the new information is not noted when an ad runs in a prominent periodical. Is a letter the proper "punishment?"

This news is courtesy of Reuters, google news, and AP.

FDA to Watson: Your Ferrlecit ad misleads

From various sources, including wire services:

Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. circulated a misleading advertisement for anemia drug Ferrlecit that made an unsupported claim and failed to disclose the product's approved use and risks, U.S. regulators said late last week.

The FDA objected to a Ferrlecit ad on the journal's back cover that was partly covered by a removable band wrapped around the magazine. The band did not mention the product by name but contained claims that suggested it was promoting Ferrlecit, the FDA said in the letter to Watson. The FDA viewed the two pieces together as one ad.

Ferrlecit is approved for treating iron-deficiency anemia in patients who are undergoing chronic kidney dialysis and receiving supplemental epoetin therapy.

The Food and Drug Administration ordered Watson to immediately stop using the advertising materials, which appeared in the October 2004 edition of the journal Kidney International. <>.

The agency also took issue with the claim "easy administration," calling it "misleading at best." Most patients need to have the drug given intravenously over eight or more dialysis sessions and may require lab tests to monitor iron levels.

Comment: If the FDA can't keep tabs on a company on a timely basis, how can the consumer possibly keep up with information? The advertisement appeared nearly seven months ago, and last week there was an admonishment? How effective is that?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Do you read Corporate Message Boards?

Here is a link to a Merck message board at Yahoo.com. I read the board every morning after reading the Yahoo news page devoted to Merck. Mostly it is to read what potential, current (or alleged) investors are writing. When legal troubles such as Vioxx appear, you can bet that there will almost always be a daily diatribe on the legal issue of a company.

Does this help? Sometimes. While the posts are mostly of limited value, a quick scan may reveal some tidbit of information. In one instance a Wyeth message board had a post on a jury verdict involving a Fen Phen case. The verdict had been announced only moments before, and I just happened to find out while scanning the page. It did not make wire services until about 45 minutes later.

It's worth a look if only for five minutes if you are battling a publicly traded company.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Trial #2 on Vioxx: Delayed

From various sources, including Yahoo.com, AP, and Forbes:

Lawyers for Merck & Co. and plaintiffs have agreed to postpone what is slated to be the second wrongful death trial over Vioxx. <>The trial now is scheduled to begin May 31 in Angleton, Texas.
Ted Mayer, one of Merck's lawyers, said the agreement should be presented to the judge either later this week or early next week.

Plaintiff's counsel said the parties agreed to delay the trial because Fallon had indicated he wanted time to learn about the Vioxx issues before state cases proceeded.

In the Alabama case, Judge Rochester, said he wanted to talk to Fallon and other state judges before delaying the case now pending. Rochester said there was little point in delaying the case if other trials are held as scheduled, and that he would decide whether to postpone the case by the end of the week. The Texas case is the only other trial with a definitive start date.

In the Texas case, Carol Ernst is alleging that Vioxx caused the 2001 death of her 59-year old husband, Robert. In that case, the cause of death was cardiac arrythmia.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Befriend your Competitors?

This idead was posted by Tom Kane at his blog and it is worth a read:

"I haven’t given much thought to befriending a competitor until I read an article on" the Inc.com blog which was titled "Let's be Friends" and can be found here.

Kane posted: "The more I thought about it, the more I realized that law firm competitors can and are sources of work for one another. It may come about as a result of conflicts, or not wanting a certain type of work, or being too busy or whatever. So, my new marketing suggestion: befriend everyone, including the competition."

Have you befriended a competitor? Attorney Andy Childers in Atlanta has a firm that advertises (as does my firm) and has a well done web site. In the purest sense, he is a competitor, since we're seeking the same type of client. We also work together on projects. In several instances, my office has referred to him certain cases to file suit on in metro Atlanta. In several instances, he has let me review a potential case to handle. While we compete, he is someone I consider a friend.

We're not alone. A recent meeting I attended had two attorneys who spend more than $2 million dollars a year advertising in the same city per firm present. They advertise in the same market, file cases in the same courthouses, and often use the same experts. Guess what? They send cases to each other. Even more interesting? They meet once a week to talk about the profession, exchange ideas, refer cases, and talk shop. Will they merge? Never. Will they make money? Probably.

Befriend everyone, even competitors. Thanks, Mr. Kane.

Monday, May 02, 2005

May 2005 Tech This and That

By now many of you have been to archive.org to find information about a potentially adverse party. The 'wayback machine' component saves websites going back in some instances five or more years. I've talked about printing and/or downloading pages of a site you may need later. It's obviously important because a potential defendant may remove or change information needed later.

Yahoo.com now has in beta form "my web." It allows you to save in the exact form you found a website. I've been testing it a bit this past weekend. In essence it is a private version of the wayback machine. Take a look, it may work for you.