10. More Lawyers, More Experts
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106 10 More Lawyers, More Experts Weinberg’s interviews in California were almost done. He had one more to go, with an old friend and client. His journal entry for March 2, 1993: “Again, after two-plus years, at Wilma’s on Balboa. I’ll see Patrick in a while. Time to get my ducks in a row. Really tough; pitfalls at every turn. Francis will help, but is he the saint he seemed to be? Or is Shanbrom— and will he be the one? And how do I turn him around?” March 2 broke as a brilliantly cool and sunny California winter day. Weinberg drove over the bridge from his hotel to Wilma’s on Balboa Island for breakfast. His friend and client, Patrick, the airline pilot rendered quadriplegic in the swimming-pool accident, was living with his mother at the family home near Newport. Weinberg finished breakfast and drove to Patrick’s home, a tract house in a development. It was good to see him; it had been nearly two years since the trial. He was in good spirits, happy to see Weinberg, and assured him that he was doing okay. But it was sobering to see him, a guy he had known before his injury, a pilot, a vibrant young man, now reduced to being an invalid completely dependent on others to survive. Patrick’s mother and brother were there, and they spent a couple of hours talking and looking at family pictures. Pat was the eldest of three brothers, and from the time Weinberg had first met him, he had been strong for his family. But with Weinberg, one on one, he would let his guard down. He knew he was in a bad way. He was anxious about the things people who cannot care for themselves are anxious about—catheters, skin breakdown—but was most concerned with burdening his family. After MORE LAWYERS, MORE EXPERTS 107 dinner Weinberg left him, his mind imprinted with the image of those frail and useless hands that once worked the controls of jet airplanes. Weinberg flew home from John Wayne International Airport in Orange County. On the plane, he closed his eyes and thought about his sons. Mickey D was nearly five months old. He missed him and his brothers terribly. The older brothers, Diane told her husband, took seriously their obligation to help out while their father was away. Jake would be six in April, and Arnie was four and a half. The more time Weinberg spent on the road, the less he spent with them. The same was true of the courthouse . Money was always a concern, and neither Weinberg nor his wife had fully understood how long this litigation would take. But Diane, who was staying home full time even as she received multiple calls from recruiters, remained fully on board. She believed in him and the case, and he took her faith in both seriously. So Weinberg felt invigorated. He had been trained as a prosecutor, and she as a microbiologist. Both liked to work a case, to read, to research, to uncover. He also did not like the patronizing attitudes of the industry’s big-firm lawyers, whose condescension he believed was by design. By belittling his case, they could throw him off stride. They weren’t sure exactly what Weinberg was up to, so were determined to make him doubt himself. But he had the feeling, flying high on the plane, that he would win. Besides, he had found an excellent expert in his own backyard. Dr. Donald T. Dubin was a professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey–Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and director of the medical school’s viral culture and HIV facility. He also was a member of the scientific advisory board of AmFAR, the American Foundation for AIDS Research. He was a distinguished physician and academic, educated at Harvard and Columbia, and had published and presented his research extensively. By examining their medical records, Dr. Dubin could tell Weinberg the likely dates when many of his clients were infected with HIV, since the hospital had done these tests as a matter of routine. Johnson, Niederman, and Weiss, for example, were among the Robert Wood Johnson patients whose blood samples were frozen at the hospital. This information was crucial, in no small part because Judge Pisano had ordered Weinberg to find it, then hand it over to the industry...


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