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?
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.
I 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.