I know — your first reaction is, “Impossible. Attorneys who double dip?!?!”
Actually, this double-dipping doesn’t involve funds. Pages of ethics rules and opinions exist that restrict that kind of action. This involves clients.
In Houston, there are two sets of attorneys who filed wrongful death suits for the same client. There are even allegations that the two firms have worked together on their separate lawsuits, allegedly sharing everything, even profits. Each team hired doctors who were kept in the dark about the other case and what the doctors in that case were saying. The claims and opinions in each case worked against each other. In one, the attorneys claimed crystalline silica caused the death, and in the other that asbestos was the cause. Congressional hearings are on-going. Click here to learn more.
The next Vioxx trial opened this week in New Orleans. The plaintiff claims Merck should be responsible for his heart attack even though the drug contained a warning label that taking the drug could increase the risk of heart attacks. I think these pharmaceutical cases are fascinating, in part because we try to assign blame for an injury that has so many potential causes. They certainly aren’t as clear cut as a products liability case arising from using a product like a lawn mower, motor vehicle, etc. And there’s big money involved in these cases. In one of the first Vioxx trials, a jury ordered Merck to pay $51 million, though the judge has ordered a new trial on damages.
Welcome to the American system of law.