Monday, March 27, 2006

The Vioxx War Room

On the CBS News site there is a decent article on the Plaintiff's War Room in the Cona trial. We've used the war room concept in our office and most recently for a six week trial in another city. Here are excerpts from the article, which you can read by going to the link below:

"For the legal eagles hunkered down in Room 3628 at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa gambling isn't on the docket. For weeks, lawyer Mark Lanier and his associates, paralegals and support staff have been spending nights in this hotel suite _ plotting strategy, guessing at the enemy's next move, looking behind to look ahead.

They call it the war room.

Lanier represents heart attack victim Thomas Cona, 59, of Cherry Hill, a businessman suing drug maker Merck & Co. of Whitehouse Station, N.J., over its troubled arthritis drug Vioxx.

Five days a week, when the trial day wraps up in Courtroom 3A ... it's up to Room 3628 for the war room ritual, one practiced by trial lawyers of all stripes when they're trying cases.

"War rooms are near and dear to us," said Larry S. Pozner, a former past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers who also does civil litigation. "There are so many things that happen in each day of trial, you need to bounce it off other people. `Did the witness really say that?' `What's the significance of the judge's ruling?' `How does this affect our presentation of the evidence?"

Merck's legal team has its war room, too. Eight of them, in fact.

Across town, at the Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel, lead counsel Christy Jones and three other Merck lawyers work out of seven hotel rooms that have had the beds and dressers removed. The eighth is a conference room used for group meetings.

"Every evening after court, we have a trial team meeting in that conference room," said Chuck Harrell, a spokesman for the team. "We discuss the events of the day, what we need to do in planning for the following days and even a day or two beyond that."

For Lanier's gang, the war room is set up in an elegant suite that has been converted into an office _ with boxes and boxes of documents stacked along the walls, computers and FAX machines sitting atop tables and a big easel and pad on one side.

The article is worth read ... find it here.