7. Help Wanted
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70 7 Help Wanted Weinberg met with Garruto and Galex a couple of times in July 1992 to update them on his research and, he hoped, develop a preliminary partnership agreement. He kept them informed of the progress he was making in signing up clients and identifying expert witnesses. To Weinberg, their discussions felt comfortable, but August came and went with no agreement. Then another opportunity arose. Weinberg had played basketball in an adult recreation league in Princeton for a couple of years, until he tore a knee ligament that required surgery. One of the other players was an Edison lawyer who had been a year ahead of Weinberg at Rutgers and had attended law school with one of his fraternity brothers. He worked at a large personal-injury firm, Levinson Axelrod, in Middlesex County. During the baby-monitor trial, he and Weinberg had chatted in the hallway of the Middlesex County Courthouse, and Weinberg had mentioned the hemophilia litigation. The Edison lawyer, in turn, had said that he would talk to his firm about the cases. So, as sometimes happens, when one door seems to be closing, another opens. Weinberg got a call from Ron Grayzel, a partner at Levinson Axelrod. Weinberg knew him casually. Grayzel wrote frequently in the New Jersey Law Journal and was an emerging thought leader on New Jersey product-liability issues. They arranged to have lunch at Doll’s Place, a favorite hangout of courthouse regulars in New Brunswick. When Weinberg got to Doll’s, Grayzel was already at a table. The lunch crowd was typical for a weekday; Weinberg knew at least a dozen of the HELP WANTED 71 customers, mostly lawyers, court staff, and judges. Gossip is an integral part of a court system, and he knew the courthouse buzz later that afternoon would be that Grayzel and Weinberg were having lunch. They were both fairly well known lawyers in Middlesex. There would be speculation, and Weinberg enjoyed the feeling. Weinberg told Grayzel about the hemophilia case. By then he had about ten clients and was hearing from families in New Jersey and beyond pretty much on a weekly basis. Weinberg told Grayzel about his interest in finding a litigation partner. Grayzel listened and then asked about other cases, and the experts that Weinberg thought would be needed. He wanted to know how many clients Weinberg thought might potentially retain them if they worked together. He asked about the success of the litigation to date, and what Weinberg thought the prospects were for success. He asked if they could file cases in state court and keep them there instead of being transferred to federal court. They were all good questions. The two talked for about an hour. But Grayzel called a couple of weeks later to say his firm had decided not to get involved. There had been some changes at the firm, he said, and some other cases they had recently taken would require a lot of time and resources. He was gracious about it. Weinberg was disappointed but understood. By late fall of 1992, he had been retained by thirteen hemophilia families and had heard from another couple of dozen, but he was hesitant to sign up more clients. The three filed cases—Johnson, Niederman, and Weiss—were in federal court, and the magistrate seemed to be losing patience. Weinberg thought his theories made sense, but he had yet to identify experts to support them. The industry lawyers were inundating him with information requests—they wanted, and were entitled to, medical records, infusion histories, lab reports, proof of employment, and loss of income records. They demanded to know when he contended his clients had been infected with HIV. They wanted to know who his witnesses were, who his experts were, and what they were going to say. In turn, Weinberg demanded information from the companies, but Judge Pisano did not seem impressed with his position that he needed documents from the defendants in order to establish the facts of his cases. He, too, pressed BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS 72 Weinberg to produce the medical files and the information the companies sought. So Weinberg continued to chase down evidence. He always carefully developed a case before filing a lawsuit, but this one required more speed because of the statute of limitations. Weinberg had filed Andrea Johnson’s case within two years of Clyde’s death because of the statute; he had filed the Weinberg and Niederman cases so the court would...


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