UPDATED Propecia® MDL Documents Spat: The Weill-Cornell Med Center In-House Lawyer Weighs In, This Afternoon

Well, it once again seems unlikely that there will be any high drama show-down in Brooklyn’s federal District Court, on September 2, 2015. It seems that the in-house lawyer for the entities served subpoenas intends to deliver relevant documents prior to that day.

At least that’s what her sworn statements — before the federal trial court now aver. And I trust she will. She claims the earlier mix-up was plaintiffs’ counsel’s fault — that they had served a party (the doctor) who did not control the documents in question. I personally think that’s a rather dangerous argument to make, because under applicable federal law, various clinical trial documents, like these — are to remain (essentially forever) the responsibility of the so-called Principal Investigator under the clinical trial/study. The idea here is that a real person, not a company, hospital or university — under federal law — should be signing on for, and responsible for the safe and ethical conduct of the trial. If memory serves, the doctor was the P.I. on those old studies — some dating back 25 or more years.

In any event, the plaintiffs have now served everyone that might have control of the study documents, and so, their in-house lawyer says the documents will be forthcoming. Here’s a bit from her response — filed today (and the full PDF of it):

. . . .I am Associate University Counsel in the Cornell University Office of University Counsel and counsel for non-party witness Dr. Julianne Imperato-McGinley (“Dr. McGinley”). Dr. McGinley is a full-time member of the faculty of Weill Cornell Medical College (“WCMC”). . . .

[Plaintiffs’ counsel] mischaracterizes my communication with him to suggest we have more documents than we do. The available records responsive to the subpoena Plaintiffs served on Dr. McGinley are in the possession, custody and control of WCMC, not Dr. McGinley in her individual capacity. Dr. McGinley, as an individual, has no records in her personal possession that are responsive to the subpoena duces tecum, beyond the information produced. . . .

Most of these records are from 30, 20 and 15 years ago. WCMC reviewed a list of records it had stored, which turned up 16 boxes and potentially more (possibly up to 40) that may include records related to the subject matter of the subpoena. It is important to emphasize that not all of the documents contained in those 16 to 40 boxes are relevant records. The boxes identified in storage were for review to identify the relevant documents. . . .

She goes on to say that at least some will be produced — but many may not be relevant — or may be privileged. So. . . I trust that all those following this closely — you know who you are(!) — will enjoy this above bit of federal civil practice “street theater.” Now you know. Onward — and a river runs through it.

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