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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.

Covington & Burling goes Gabonkas

Never heard of that word? Good, then it has nooooooooo legal meaning.

Anyway, Covington & Burling, who apparently deals with the Justice Department in the investigation of Pfizer's possible violations related to Bextra and Celebrex, and who also coached a witness in a grand jury investigation, (which probably is perfectly legal), is of course terribly interested in my recent post "Former Pfizer Employee Testifies about Document Destruction."

So who are the lawyers at Covington & Burling so interested in this post, and what can we learn about them?

If you click their names you'll find photos and a summary of their daring dedication to defending Big Pharma:

Geoffrey E. Hobart is a Partner in the Washington office and a member of the firm's Trial, White Collar, and Pharmaceutical Litigation and Investigations practice groups. He defends pharmaceutical companies in government investigations and he has the perfect background. He used to be one of the really "good guys." He served nine years as an Assistant US Attorney in the Criminal Division for the US Attorneys Office and the District of Massachusetts. He tried and won over 15 cases and received the Director's Award from Attorney General Janet Reno for his prosecution of 16 members and associates of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. Wrooom! Wrooom!

Matthew J. O'Connor is Special Counsel in the firm's litigation and white collar practice groups. And ladies, Mr. O'Connor is a looker! Check out his pretty photo. Mr. O'Connor spends his days defending pharmaceutical companies and executives in government investigations and in related civil litigation. And we are all very thankful for his work, since everyone, no matter how corrupt, is entitled to the best defense money can buy in this country. Too bad the Justice department doesn't get the same resources.

Sarah Anne Franklin is an Associate in the firm's litigation and white collar practice groups and is too new to have a photo yet. Ms. Franklin received her J.D. in 2001 from the Georgetown University Law Center, where she was an Annual Review Editor of the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law. Very impressive.

So how did I find these legal warriors and their interest in my recent post? Can't tell you that. Let's put it like this. I've learned a lot since Pfizer's Pharmacia division hired a detective to monitor me.

So now we're all a happy family monitoring each other.

Can anyone see which finger I'm holding up in the air?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Rost. These posts is the reason I keep coming back to your blog.

So funny! I don't know anyone who has ever behaved like this and been this snarky, challenging all those fat, $700 per hour law firms.

And yes, I can imagine which finger you used.

Anonymous Arta said...

Middle dufus is the kind of looker only guys are interested in. I'm disappointed!

This is very entertaining.

Blogger Peter Rost said...

What ARE you saying Arta??


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you think that only Pfizer's "poor slobs" are reading your blog religiously, you are wrong. All the Big pharma designated slobs are reading it with same attention to details and watch what is going to happen. They are all "guilty" of the same crime and misconduct for it is the culture that exists in all and every big pharma that makes them do it.The misconduct is so effective and seductive that they would never give it up willingly but only if they are forced in some way. If you take Pfizer down, as all public hopes would happen, all others would become a fair game. One is sure there are numerous employees of those big pharma companies who, right now have as many incriminating documents on file as you do.At least those who are smart. You never know when it may come handy.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wall Street Journal (Oct-10-2006)- Hoping to discourage corporate scandal at Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffet has some advice for his top managers which was printed in the WSJ today:

Buffett Says to Avoid Scandals,
Managers Must Not Follow Herd

October 10, 2006; Page A9

Warren Buffett, known as the "Oracle of Omaha," has spoken on the recent scandals involving stock-options backdating and Hewlett-Packard Co.'s leak probe.

In a one-page memo dated Sept. 27, prompted by the recent scandals, Mr. Buffett exhorted the 45-plus top managers of his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. holding company -- whom he calls "The All-Stars" -- to resist temptation despite peer pressure or even industry practice. "The five most dangerous words in business may be 'Everybody else is doing it,'" wrote the 76-year-old chairman of Berkshire.

More than 100 companies have drawn scrutiny in federal probes of backdating -- that is, the practice of altering the date on which options were granted to executives and other employees to increase the potential value of the options. Backdating can run afoul of tax and securities laws.

Separately, former H-P Chairman Patricia Dunn was charged last week by the California attorney general in H-P's leak probe. She and several others are accused of committing criminal privacy violations by hiring investigators who impersonated others in a tactic called "pretexting" to access personal phone records. Ms. Dunn has said she will fight the charges.

With regard to backdating, Mr. Buffett wrote, "My guess is that a great many of the people involved would not have behaved in the manner they did except for the fact that they felt others were doing so as well." In his folksy style, he went on, "So, at Berkshire, let's start with what is legal, but always go on to what we would feel comfortable about being printed on the front page of our local paper, and never proceed forward simply on the basis of the fact that other people are doing it."

Mr. Buffett sends out such "reminders" to his managers about once every two years, according to Debbie Bosanek, Mr. Buffett's assistant. As Berkshire continues acquiring new companies with new managers, Mr. Buffett decides "it's time for an update" once in a while," she added. Mr. Buffett wasn't available to comment. Sometimes Mr. Buffett's reminders take the form of passages in his annual letters to shareholders. In recent years, he has opined on hot-button corporate-governance issues including options expensing, executive compensation and hedge-fund fees.

Berkshire isn't a stranger to scandal. Four former executives of Berkshire's General Re reinsurance unit were indicted this year for conspiracy to commit fraud, and two others have pleaded guilty, in relation to a controversial transaction in 2000 with American International Group Inc. that federal prosecutors allege was a sham deal. The four former General Re executives and one former AIG executive are scheduled to stand trial in March in Connecticut.

In his latest memo, Mr. Buffett makes clear he is concerned about any blight on Berkshire's reputation. Acknowledging that the chance of the company's 200,000 staff will always behave properly "is nil," he adds, "We can have a huge effect in minimizing such activities by jumping on anything immediately when there is the slightest odor of impropriety."

Write to Karen Richardson at karen.richardson(at)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's nothing "impressive" about Sarah Anne Franklin. (Oh, you were being sarcastic!) She's just another self-important mediocrity posing as a partner-to-be. She's got the swagger and the dagger down -- now all she needs is to work on her acting.


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