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Peter Rost, M.D., is a former Pfizer Marketing Vice President providing services as a medical device and drug expert witness and pharmaceutical marketing expert. Judge Sanders: "The court agrees with defendants' view that Dr. Rost is a very adept and seasoned expert witness." He is also the author of Emergency Surgery, The Whistleblower and Killer Drug. You can reach him on rostpeter (insert symbol) Please read the terms of use agreement and privacy policy for this blog carefully.

Clowns, Stooges, Lawyers or What?

Some people wonder what is going on in my employment case against Pfizer. You did receive some information in my post, Letter From The Three Stooges.

But there is, of course, much more to tell. I recently produced about 5,000 documents supporting my case. And we were eagerly waiting for Pfizer's document production. Finally we got a box with a few hundred crumbled pages dancing around at the bottom of the box.

And without any explanation, ranges of documents had simply been removed and replaced with notes saying that there were no documents corresponding to those numbered pages. Do they think we'll be stupid enough to only ask for what they took out and perhaps "forget" to ask for what they never put in? I don't know.

To say that we were underwhelmed by Pfizer's document production would be an understatement. Since, after all, Pfizer has a legal obligation to produce all relevant documents. Not just the ones they want to produce. See, if the law worked like that it would be easy. But it doesn't--it is not up to Pfizer what they produce.

I've been part of a few lawsuits in my professional life, both as a defendant and plaintiff, so of course I understand how this works, and the fact that defendants would like to produce as little as possible.

But in the past, opposing counsel have been at least reasonable people.

They haven't pretended to be clowns or pretended that they hired the Three Stooges to do legal work for them.

Pfizer is different. They seem to be really into that thing about having the Three Stooges working for them.

It is an interesting legal strategy. To play dumb, I mean. A little bit like the bird that puts its head in the sand and thinks he is invisible.

But, of course, I'm not surprised, after all this is what Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler's said to the WSJ: "Plaintiffs lawyers are in business like anybody else. They think about how to most quickly and most easily get their rewards from their business. So we're hoping that when a plaintiffs lawyer is thinking about who to go after maybe they'll think Pfizer's going to make it a little harder for me than so-and-so, so maybe I'll go after so-and-so."

And clearly, if you try to deal with people who pretend that they are the Three Stooges, then it becoms a bit "harder."

I can't wait for depositions, perhaps all the defendants will have taken the "Three Stooges Acting Class" by then?

We'll see.

Anyway, this appears to be a very short-sighted strategy. After all, I can't see how any judge would appreciate if defendants and their lawyers pretend they are clowns performing in a circus.

So, I asked my lawyer what the point was for Pfizer to act like this.

My lawyer's response is attorney-client privileged. And if it wasn't it wouldn't have been printable anyway.

But I can print what my lawyer just wrote to Pfizer's lawyers, in response to their "document production."

I won't do the full eighteen pages, just the first paragraph:

I have finally had an opportunity to thoroughly review your client’s responses to Plaintiff’s Interrogatories and Document Requests. Quite frankly, your client’s responses are not only totally lacking, but are insulting. In general terms, these are the following deficiencies:

• It is incomprehensible that you do not indicate the relevant knowledge of each of the individuals named in your Rule 26 Disclosures;

• You do not, in your client’s responses to Plaintiff’s Notices to Produce, identify which documents are responsive to which specific Document Request;

• You do not produce any emails regarding the subject matter of a lawsuit that contain Peter Rost’s name for all of the people who participated in meetings, which Dr. Rost engaged in protected activity in October and November 2002;

• You have not provided a privilege log, as both promised and required.

• Several ranges of numbered documents in your document production have been removed, without any explanation.

What makes this extremely frustrating is that are office gave your office the courtesy of an almost three (3) month extension to provide your discovery requests and we are rewarded with responses that are almost useless.

In light of this, my client has instructed me not to extend any further courtesies, and to swiftly make appropriate motions to compel you to adhere to established procedural standards.

Very sophisticated strategy Pfizer is employing, I must admit. I suppose they call it the "We're dumb, we don't understand English words, bahahahahahaha!" strategy.

My lawyer actually had to write the following to one of their responses:

Plaintiff suggests that defendants look to the dictionary meaning definition of monitoring and surveillance as defined by any present-day dictionary.

Kindlersecuritybunker2I guess Mr. Kindler should know what the words "monitoring" and "surveillance" mean, considering that he posed so willingly for Pharmaceutical Executive in Pfizer's restricted access, hi-tech monitoring and surveillance bunker.

That's him to the left in front of all the monitors, monitoring the world.

But he and his lawyers had a hard time understanding what the words "monitoring" and "surveillance" mean.

Perhaps the words made him feel . . . what should I say? Uneasy?

If he didn't feel that way, then he would simply comply with established legal procedures.

But he doesn't want to do that. He wants to make it "harder" for plaintiffs. By pretending he hired the Three Stooges.

Of course, Pfizer may have a very different take on this story, and may object to what I've just written. In which case, they can take this post to the judge. But I have a feeling they won't do that.

After all, they wouldn't want the judge to find out that the lawyers at Epstein Becker and Green are impersonating the Three Stooges in their fine legal work.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Rost,

This is, naturally, the way Goliath is able to ATTEMPT to make all of the Davids in the world go away forever. Please hang in there. Note the paucity of results when you Google "Pfizer Wrongful Termination Lawsuit." Pfizer has allowed few others to bring such suits in front of juries of peers.

Again, hang in there Dr. Rost. Others who are following in your footsteps, although far less publicly, are rooting and watching very closely.

Can you put up a DONATE NOW pay-pal button so that folks can contribute to your legal bills??

Blogger Erik said...

I do think that stonewalling is a rather common procedure in legal proceedings - thus the Three Stooges look to all this. One thing this gets for Phizer is that the whole mess begins to pass out of the public's view the longer it takes to get to actual litigation. The PR hit is ameliorated somewhat...and Phizer gets time to work on a defense. That they are working so hard to obfuscate information shows that they are likely pretty much at an impasse for how to defend themselves at this point. But never underestimate the ability of a high-powered legal team. The most open and shut case can be turned into something completely unrelated...and one can suddenly find themselves backpedalling like crazy. Be vigilant...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you attorney really write

"What makes this extremely frustrating is that are office gave your office the courtesy of an almost three (3) month "

or is that your typo?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

look how easy a typo is I meant did youR ...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's simply amazing to glimpse the skill and level of legal expertise being exhibited behind the scene. By-product of the most prestigious and expensive institutions for higher learning is indeed a sight to behold. The profundity of esteem in which the US legal system is held, is truly mind blowing. A day never passes that the average American isn't well rewarded, in driving past the local country club, hoping to glimpse such pillars of society, knocking them around and back.

Anonymous Rosethejet said...

The most important thing would be (not that I have a clue about how the law works)I would think if for the judge to stomp them for stonewalling.

A simple little thing like a fifty thousand dollar a day fine for obstruction of justice might produce everythng within a few hours. You can be sure they have all of it ready anyway and are just making sure they, if needed can produce it as fast as the court requires, if it comes down to with contempt of court charges.

Ya know, "Produce now or produce later from behind bars"?

Or the aforementioned financial hit.

BUT whatever happens it would appear you have them on the ropes and staggering if they are using such first year law student tactics that are transparent as all hell.

Hang in there and kick their butts.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, part of this "deal" is that laywyers get to book more "time" and it is going to cost more, to both you AND Pfizer.

Another little part of this "game" is creating "extensions" ad infinitem and then preventing that the case EVER gets into court at all. Pfizer may have more money than you do, Peter, to keep up this exhausting game, and then they win by default.

Another one is setting up a court date and making certain that neither you, nor your laywers know about this, and then you also lose.

We'll see, appears to be he usual gaming. There are endless tricks. I experienced this, and I am only one old woman who had one private case, which I had to bring, because I was being endlessly harassed by an ex husband. This is about big money, big prestige, so get ready.

Blogger Peter Rost said...

Yes, yes, yes. Y'all got it right. Only with Pfizer's lawyers the whole process has been exaggerated to the point when some exchanges could make it onto Saturday Night Live. And yes, my lawyer works fast and sometimes that leads to a typo. Then again, he's one of the best litigators on the East Coast, so I'm happy.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Rost,

Don't hesitate to leverage the passion of your readers in your defense. Similar to sharing CPU power across thousands of personal PCs to solve problems that only super-computers could calculate previously. Along these lines,
each of your readers could passionately help to ding, and eventually to crack, the armor of Goliath, one of us by another one of us.

I'm ready to find answers to as many troubling questions of Pfizer tactics or hypocrisy as you're willing to throw out there.

Again, others are following in your footsteps, although far less publicly, and are rooting for you and watching the process very closely.

'We got yo back!'

Blogger Peter Rost said...

I may just take you up on that suggestion . . . stay tuned!

Blogger Moogirl said...

What IS it with men and The Three Stooges???I know this totally has nothing to do with your post, Doc, but I've always wondered what the attraction was. This looked like as good a place as any to ask!


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