June 2, 2014
In the world of tort reform; in an America which believes that it cannot be hurt by corporations whose only fealty is to the bottom line; in a country who believes that the doctor is woefully beset by greedy trial lawyers and, if just left to his own devices, will consistently render superlative care without fail; we offer Exhibit “A”: The VA Hospital crises.
We’ll be blunt. We knew. As personal injury trial lawyers, we knew that VA medical services were horrendous, that facilities were inadequate and that medical care was, at best, hit and miss. But why listen to us? After all, we’re the people who made your playgrounds safe, stopped your kids from being burned by their flammable pajamas, made car manufacturers put seatbelts in the autos they sold you, stopped those same carmakers from selling you cars with gas tanks that blew up on contact, convinced tobacco pushers that maybe it was cheaper telling you plainly about the cancer they caused rather than duping you into being killed by it, and a plethora of other minor matters affecting the quality—to nothing of the length– of your life. So if you can sit there with a
straight face as you wait 2 hours to see your Gucci-loafered doctor, whose Porsche sits glistening in the office parking lot, and truly believe that we, who are your lawyers, are both your enemy and his, then stop complaining. Sometimes, you have to know who your friends are, because your enemies certainly do. In order for the Dick the Butcher’s of the world to prevail, the first thing they must do is “kill all the lawyers.” For, as Shakespeare knew, we are your last line of defense against all the people and things that can hurt you.
Can hundreds of lawyers get something wrong? Can tens of courts do so too? That’s what has medical device lawyers scratching their heads after the Office of the Solicitor General weighed in as amicus on whether or not to grant certiorari in Stengel v. Medtronic, Inc., 12-1351. While it’s rare that the Supreme Court asks for help in deciding what to review, when it does, it looks to the “SG”, the person who represents the United States before the Court and, without a doubt, has the most experience in Supreme Court practice. That only