Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Resolution Time: 2008

I make and try to keep resolutions.

For me it's been a year to remember: 2007 began with my decision to open my own law office. It was precipitated by a significant event at the end of 2006. This time last year my former "boss" tried to weasel out of a referral fee to another lawyer. It was a significant fee to be paid to a solo practitioner. When the owner of the firm demanded that I abide by the decision to - in essence - screw another lawyer, I told him would have none of it. That moment was one I will remember forever - I informed that I would resign that very moment if the referral fee was not paid. Ten minutes later I was told to leave, and told (yelled at, actually) that the fee would not be paid. Ninety days later, the Court ordered him to pay it. I have not looked back since, and have been happy with the decision. My 2007 resolution - Be transparent with any attorney who refers a case, provide regular updates and send a referral check promptly was met. Many times.

2008 will bring a list of more basic resolutions and courtesies:

1.When speaking with a person - client, attorney, etc. - I will not pick up my cell phone to see who it is. I will not check my blackberry while in a business setting.

2.My office will march forward to going paperless. We already move all FAX transmissions to our servers, and basic items such as Incident Reports and medical records are scanned. Next up: Other records and documents.

3.Use of IM and texting of clients: Angel Reyes uses texting to reach a client. We will as well. The use of IM in our offices works well, as we are spread out. Next is asking for the IM screen name of clients. I have found that nearly 60% of all clients use IM, even if only on a semi-regular basis.

4.Copying clients on case costs payments. In the old days, there would be sticker shock when a case resolved and the client saw for the first time the costs incurred in a case for matters such as expert witnesses, deposition transcript costs, and the like. Now, clients get all copies of letters showing payments to any entity (but they don't get a copy of the check). This will be a 100% rule in 2008.

5.Compliments: Seems like the law field is one area where compliments to staffers, fellow lawyers, etc. are rare. Not in my office. 2008 is the year of compliments and of 'well done' comments.

Retinopathy of Prematurity: Richard Shapiro and

Preeminent Attorney Richard Shapiro has his site up and it is impressive. is a site that addresses and explains Retinopathy of Prematurity.

"Retinopathy of Prematurity (R.O.P) is a potentially blinding eye disorder that primarily affects premature infants weighing approximately three pounds or less, born before 31 weeks of gestation (A full-term pregnancy has a gestation of 38–42 weeks). The smaller a baby is at birth, the more likely that baby will develop ROP. This condition is one of the most common causes of visual loss in childhood and can lead to lifelong vision impairment and blindness." There is a Resources page as well.

Richard spoke with me and said that he actually hopes to put himself out of business by addressing the root cause of this - to him - avoidable consequence of premature birth. With proper testing and procedures in place, preemies born with ROP should be diagnosed and treated in a way that the condition is almost unheard of in three to seven years.

The zones of the retina in R.O.P.:

Go to the site here.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

30 Seconds of Ad Related Levity

DeNiro - not law related - responds to 'direction' when cutting an ad:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Avandia: Higher Risk of Heart Attacks and Death

Older people taking Avandia and Actos had a higher risk of heart attacks, failure and death than those taking other diabetes pills, says a study from Canada.

Diabetics over 65 on the drugs were 40 percent more likely to suffer heart attacks, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Avandia increased the risks more than Actos did, possibly because smaller numbers of patients were prescribed the Takeda drug. The findings are similar to those in a May 21 New England Journal report by researchers at the Cleveland Clinic, which found Avandia increased heart attack risks by 43 percent.

You can find the article/study in JAMA .

Source: Here.

Vioxx Settlement Agreement Documents

You may find them at the Brown Greer site. The site informs: "BrownGreer PLC is the Claims Administrator for the Vioxx Settlement. The forms posted on this site may change, so be sure to check back often to get the most recent version. Also, legal developments and amendments to the Settlement Agreement may cause some of these documents to become outdated."

The documents (all in PDF)include:

Master Settlement Agreement (PDF) 2.7MB

Exhibit 1.1 - Registration Order (PDF) 208KB - Click Here for Required Registration Affidavit and Spreadsheet (Excel) 4.29MB

Exhibit - Release (PDF) 700KB (Do not print this version of the Release to use for Enrollment. The Claims Administrator will provide a customized Release for each Registered Eligible Claimant upon receipt of the Registration Affidavit.)

Exhibit 1.3.1 - Required Medical (or PME) Records (PDF) 148KB

Exhibit 1.5 - Required Medical (or PME) Records Submissions Completeness Provisions (PDF) 272KB

Exhibit - Injury Gate Criteria (PDF) 700KB

Exhibit - Duration Gate Criteria (PDF) 116KB

Exhibit - Proximity Gate Criteria (PDF) 32KB

Exhibit 2.2.2 - Evidence of Usage Confirmation Criteria (PDF) 108KB

Exhibit 2.7.3 - Future Evidence Stipulation (PDF) 96KB

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Merck Seeks OTC Approval for Mevacor (Cholestrol Drug)


Merck is asking the FDA to make Mevacor (a cholesterol-lowering medicine) available on drugstore shelves without a prescription.

Merck's try is its third in ten years. The FDA is unlikely to approve nonprescription Mevacor becuase of concerns raised by the 250,000-member American Medical Association.

The opposition makes sense. A consumer probably has not outward signs of high cholesterol unless diagnosed by a doctor. This is not a headache or joint pain.

For more, go here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Avandia Dropped by Two Pharma Benefit Managers

Two dropped GlaxoSmithKline Plc's diabetes drug Avandia from their national formularies, based on concerns about safety.

Prime and HealthTrans- the managers- issued separate statements, which claimedthat each made a thorough analysis of the clinical literature examining the safety and efficacy of Avandia.

Go here for more.

Tim Tebow: Heisman Trophy Winner

I'm a Gator, having graduated from the University of Florida. Saturday night, Gator QB Tim Tebow won the Heisman Trophy:

It's not law related, but it is nonetheless fun to watch - unless you are a nole.

Prempro Verdict Tossed

A woman who claimed that Wyeth's hormone-replacement drug caused her breast cancer failed to prove, with have sufficient evidence, that Wyeth's Prempro caused her damage.

The opinion was written by Judge Ricardo C. Jackson. Four cases have gone to trial in Philly. Each time, a jury sided with the plaintiff only to have the judge reverse the verdict.

More than 5,000 women have filed suit.

Monday, December 03, 2007

FDA's Shortcomings Put American Lives "At Risk"

From Bloomberg:

American lives are at risk because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lacks the funding to keep up with scientific advances, according to FDA advisers.

The FDA has an ``appallingly low'' rate of inspections and a lack of scientists who understand new technologies, a subcommittee of an outside panel said in the report, posted today on the FDA web site. The full panel, known as the Science Board, will discuss the findings today.

That the FDA is a mess is not news ... will it try to repair itself?

Go here for more.