Friday, January 27, 2012

Who Are We/What Can We Do?

We’ve been blogging now, with one lineup or another, since November of 2006 – over five years.  As we’ve said on a number of occasions, such as here, our philosophy has always been that a rising tide lifts all boats.  It’s the nature of stare decisis (that earlier court decisions are the precedent on which later decisions rest) that defense wins anywhere tend to help other defendants everywhere.  We thus strive to keep the pharmaceutical/medical device defense community abreast of new decisions, new arguments, and (when we’re lucky) new strategies that can help win cases.


We’re big firm lawyers.  We have big firm clients and big firm resources.  Not everybody is or does.  But cases not involving big/big/big can be every bit as important as those that do.  For instance, the two major product liability cases that established the (we’d say unfortunate) course of strict liability here in Pennsylvania are Azzarello v. Black Brothers Co., 480 Pa. 547, 391 A.2d 1020 (1978), and Berkebile v. Brantly Helicopter Corp., 462 Pa. 83, 337 A.2d 893 (1975).  Everyone who’s heard of the Black Brothers Co. or the Brantly Helicopter Corp. other than in connection with these cases raise your hands.

We thought so.

Those cases handled for those clients have screwed up the law in Pennsylvania since before some of us started practicing it.  We don’t think Pennsylvania’s unique.  The Fortune 500 and the AmLaw 100 aren't anywhere near all that matters.

Thus, as much as we want to reach – and be thought well of by – our big firm colleagues around the country (and globe), we believe it’s probably even more important to reach the folks in the regional firms, and defending the smaller companies, who are involved in prescription medical product liability litigation.  Because those folks, and their clients, might not have the resources to do the kind of comprehensive research that we're used to, we try to make what we do on this blog as helpful as possible, and we have even taken research requests on occasion.  That’s probably the chief reason we keep our scorecards and cheat sheets.  These concern important or current subjects, and provide (we hope) comprehensive and up-to-date legal research that anybody can use and craft to their particular cases.

For these five+ years, we’ve always had a Google Groups subscribe feature on the right hand side of our blog, near the bottom, that allows anybody who wants to receive all of our posts by email.  Over those five years, 784 people have signed up (actually, more, but we periodically delete group members whose emails are reported as “bouncing” – meaning invalid).  That gives us some data to indicate who the subscribers to this blog, the “we,” are.

We have to discard, at the outset, 229 subscribers whose emails end in “yahoo,” “gmail,” or various other nonspecific domains (that’s what our Google analytics call them, anyway).  Anybody who doesn’t want us to know where s/he is affiliated is certainly free to do so.  We’re not nosy.

Of the remaining 555 subscribers, 365 of them (one for each day of the year, except this is 2012) are with identifiable defense firms.  We have subscribers, who get all of our posts, at 116 different defense firms – from names that anybody would recognize, to names that even we had to check out online to figure out what side of the “v.” they were on.  To us, the number of firms is more satisfying than the number of subscribers, because any subscriber can pass any of our posts around internally.  The more defense counsel we reach, directly or indirectly, the better we like it.

Some firms, of course, have a lot more subscribers than others.  We’d like to give a shout out to our most numerous supporters:

Tucker, Ellis & West – 40 individual subscribers
Shook Hardy & Bacon – 33 individual subscribers
Reed Smith – 20 individual subscribers
Drinker Biddle – 18 individual subscribers
Dechert – 12 individual subscribers (including us)
Sidley & Austin – 10 individual subscribers

We set the cut off at ten.  Why?  Probably because we have ten fingers.

Another 156 of our subscribers are in house.  We’re not going to identify even company names here, but we’re pleased to count among our number practically every well known name in the pharmaceutical and medical device business.  We’ve also been invited into many smaller manufacturers, for a total of 66 different recognizable corporate domains.

There are also a handful of subscribers from other manufacturing companies that, as far as we know, don’t make prescription medical products.  Some of our interests – class action tolling and removal before service to name a couple – do have impact that extends beyond companies who have to jump when the FDA says so.

We also count 34 plaintiff-side subscribers.  Yes, we know who you are (that is, if you sign up from work).  No, we’re not going to delete you or anything like that.  We don’t work that way.  Frankly, we’re rather flattered when those on the other side think we’re saying things that are worth knowing about – even if at times we’re sure we make our opposing colleagues want to pound their keyboards to bits, put their fists through their screens, or throw their PDAs as far as they can.

The remainder of our subscribers come from a variety of related interests and fields.  Trade associations – both PhRMA and AdvaMed have subscribers.  Folks from both Lexis and Westlaw have signed up.  We have subscribers from the FDA and other governmental entities, both federal and state.  There are some academics on the list, or at least their email addresses end in “.edu” (they might be law students).  We also have various consultants, members of the press (including the medical press), CLE providers, insurance company people, contract researchers, and other health related businesses.

So once you’re here, what can you do?  Well, if you’re here to take advantage of our legal research over the years, we put up a post less than a year ago that compiles quite a bit of that in one place (with links).  We’ve already mentioned our cheat sheets and scorecards.  Briefly, scorecards contain all cases, pro and con.  Cheat sheets include only decisions favorable to our (the defense) side.

Each one of these posts is strictly in chronological order and is accessible via a separate link on the right-hand side of the blog, under the category helpfully called “Links.”  We’re not known for creativity – except that there are two successive “Links” sections on the blog.  Our internal links are in the second of these.  The first serves as our blogroll (links to other blogs/websites of interest).

The blog’s basic Google Blogger software (we’re not into pictures and other extraneous stuff here at DDLaw) also provides some tools to help find things.

The blog has an “archive” that includes every post we've ever written – all 1700+ of them.  That can be useful, but you first have to know the date or name of the post.

If you don’t know the date or the name (and we, ourselves, are quite forgetful), there’s an internal blog search function in the blog’s extreme upper left-hand corner.  It’s not labeled (probably should be) but it has a clickable white space for typing followed by what’s supposed to look like a hand magnifying glass.  That search function is good enough for searching relatively unusual terms (such as “conveniens”) or case names (such as “Mensing”), but less useful when trying to accomplish anything more sophisticated.  When we require more involved searching, we simply go to Google and search for “druganddevicelaw” along with whatever other terms we want to find.

On the right-hand side, below our “Archive” is a long list of terms called “Topics.”  Each one is clickable, and will produce a list of every one of our posts that we’ve decided (in our utterly unreviewable discretion) belongs under that heading.  We can use as many headings as we want, and some of our posts are listed in as many as a half-dozen different Topics.  The number of posts in a topic range from one (a lot of things) to over 100 (preemption, class actions).  While we might have something on the topic of cancer, we won't have anything on the topic of capricorn.

Finally, most people know this already, but in case somebody doesn’t, on just about any internet page, including our blog, you can use “control f” to search for particular words, phrases or sequences of characters that appear on that page.

So thanks to all our loyal subscribers, and to everybody else whom we reach through RSS feed, Twitter, Lexology, and of course those who simply click to our site (over 500 a day according to Google analytics).

4 comments:

Edward M. "Ted" McClure said...

I suggest you are selling yourself short. Your analysis in the areas of torts (causation, malpractice, and strict liability in particular), federal courts (removal and remand), civil procedure (Twiqbal), and evidence (Daubert) is IMHO definitive. I recommend your blog to faculty members, students, and practitioners who need to know the best and latest understanding of the law in these areas. Please keep up the good work.

David H. Schwartz, Ph.D. said...

You guys sure do a great job with this. As a small, boutique consulting firm just getting started with a social networking strategy, it is certainly daunting to see the body of work that you folks have compiled. It is both inspiring and "awe inspiring."

Thanks very much for all the information. I look forward to learning and staying up-to-date on issues involving drug and device law from you folks for years to come.

Jan said...

I had never heard about control f, thanks.

BrophyWorld said...

Jan is not the only person who has never heard of Ctrl+F. According to an article in The Atlantic, 90 Percent of People Don't Know How to Use Ctrl+F.

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/08/crazy-90-percent-of-people-dont-know-how-to-use-ctrl-f/243840/