EVEN GREEDY TRIAL LAWYERS LOVE THEIR MOTHERS . . . Congratulations to my mom, Pamela Schaeffer, whose magazine Heart just won a number of 2005 Catholic Press Awards. Heart is published by the nuns of the Society of the Sacred Heart for their constituents in the United States; my mom is the founding editor and chief writer.
THE STANKOWSKI REPORT #7: The Truth About Discovery
by Stan Stankowski
So, I am sitting in my office. Admittedly, I am a bit bored. Quite
frankly, discovery disputes have become a large, and unfortunate,
part of my life. Don't get me wrong, I do not mean the actual
responses, though I do a huge number of those as well. I mean the
Normally, disputes are entertaining; they give you something to get
worked up about. Somebody did something that makes you feel just a
little indignant, even though it is your job and you deal with it
everyday. That, at the very least, creates a little motivation. It
makes you feel a little righteous anger at least once a day. You
would not believe how far a little righteous anger goes when you are
bombarded by conference calls, meetings, stupid documents and other
somewhat boring tasks.
Not so with discovery. "Why?" you ask. Fine question. In the long
run, discovery is as good a thing to get incensed about as anything
The main problem is that discovery disputes are so transparently fake.
A typical conversation leading up to one will progress as
A VIOXX TEAM UPDATE . . . As I was preparing for a Vioxx hearing this morning, I noticed that 3,500 individual lawsuits have been filed nationwide, according the news out of the MDL. Reports vary, however--an article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about the first Vioxx trial next month puts the number at only 2,400 cases filed.
Anyway you slice it, we've been awfully busy in St. Louis, where the Vioxx Team has already filed lawsuits on behalf of about 800 individual plaintiffs. That's a pretty good percentage of the total number of cases filed nationwide, but I suspect it's merely because we're a little ahead of some other big groups in filing our cases. A year from now, Merck will be facing many, many more lawsuits than it is today.
As I said last week, there's just no good news for Merck. Not to gloat, however: as always happens in these mass torts, the tides will turn before everything is said and done, then turn again. My collected Vioxx posts are here.
AN ASSIGNMENT FROM MY SHINGLE . . . As I was leaving town last week for the MATA conference, Carolyn Elefant of My Shingle passed me the musical baton. Without a deadline, I'm not sure when I'll be handing it off to any other lucky recipients. But rest assured, I'm working on it.