12. An Act of Man
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

137 12 An Act of Man It was the dog days of August, and the 1993 baseball season was peaking. The Mets, going in the other direction, were sinking toward what would be a last-place finish in the National League East. Weinberg thought of Roger, the ever-faithful fan, his Mets cap set crooked on his head. Two new clients, Bud Herbert and his hemophilic son, Dave, came to see Weinberg that month. It was another emotional meeting. Bud was powerfully built, silver-haired, and clearly comfortable as the big dog in the room. He was a prominent real estate broker from Putnam County, New York, among the nation’s wealthiest counties, and a major Republican fund-raiser. He counted George Pataki, who was about to be elected governor of New York, and Al D’Amato, then a U.S. senator, among his friends. And now, he was firmly on the warpath on behalf of his child. Bud said he’d had an epiphany as he listened to Weinberg at the Hemophilia Association of New York meeting. Bud and Dave had been shocked and, together with Bud’s wife, Carole, were ready to sue. Dave was a very mild hemophiliac, likely infected in 1984, at the age of fourteen, during a knee surgery, when he was infused with clotting factor for only the second time in his life. He had been given unheated product that carried no HIV warning, even though by that time, the manufacturer had a license to make a heated version. Dave’s doctor, an old country pediatrician, had felt sure it was safe. By 1984, with all that was known about HIV and blood, what reputable company would continue to sell the BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS 138 older medicine, and what responsible government regulators would sit silent and let it happen? Bud was no stranger to the courthouse, but his experience was in commercial real estate litigation. He also hewed to the Republican line about the need for tort reform to prevent frivolous lawsuits by get-richquick schemers. Personal injury litigation was anathema to him. But love for his son trumped politics. Weinberg cautioned that the industry would surely raise New York’s statute of limitations as a defense. Dave had turned eighteen in 1988, and if the courts decided he knew he was HIV-positive then, it was possible that he had missed his chance to sue. But Weinberg was already thinking about how to overcome such a defense: lobbying state legislatures to open temporary “windows” in their statutes to allow HIV-infected hemophiliacs to sue despite the passage of time. Bud was enthusiastic. He had the political experience and connections to help change New York’s law. Now Weinberg had a powerful new ally. Later, following up on Dr. Shanbrom’s suggestion, Weinberg called the doctor’s personal attorney, who said lawyers for Cutter had visited Dr. Shanbrom recently and had let it be known that his participation on behalf of hemophilia plaintiffs would effectively end any interest the companies might have in his ongoing research. In effect, Dr. Shanbrom would be blackballed. The lawyer said his client would, nonetheless, respond to a subpoena to testify—and yes, would bring his documents. Weinberg briefed Elena Bostick about the developments in the case, including the near miss with Dr. Shanbrom. He also called Joe Salgado, his sounding board. Salgado laughed about Weinberg’s desperate ferry ride to see Dr. Shanbrom. Weinberg laughed with him. Salgado knew that absurdity was sometimes the nature of the world. He was highly amused at the picture of Weinberg having carefully nurtured a relationship with Dr. Shanbrom, and of another lawyer running from the San Francisco conference down to Orange County to beat the crowd in general, and Weinberg in particular. As he often did, Salgado put things into perspective. They agreed to meet for lunch. Weinberg knew Salgado was a key adviser to Bostick, but the two men had never openly discussed the fact that Salgado had hemophilia and HIV. So when they sat down to eat at a Chinese restaurant in Somerset, halfway AN ACT OF MAN 139 between their offices, Weinberg sensed what was coming—a conversation long avoided. “When I sent Andrea to you, I figured you would tell her there was nothing that could be done,” Salgado said. “I knew there had been a dozen trials and the fractionators had won every case. But she wanted to talk to a lawyer. I figured...


pdf