Saturday, March 15, 2008

Email Not Allowed as Evidence in Alaska Case Against Eli LIlly

An email by an Eli Lilly official discussing off-label use of the drug Zyprexa will not be allowed as evidence in Alaska's suit against the pharmaceutical company, the judge in the case has ruled.

From The New York Times:

Judge Mark Rindner, said it could not be admitted into evidence in the trial because off-label use was not at issue in the case.
However, the email may be useful to federal prosecutors in Pennsylvania:

Its disclosure nonetheless comes at a sensitive moment for Lilly, which is also under federal criminal investigation for the way it promoted Zyprexa and played down the drug’s risks to doctors. Between 2000 and 2002, internal Lilly documents show that the company aggressively tried to expand Zyprexa’s sales into markets for which the drug was never approved, including elderly patients with dementia.

To settle that investigation, and related investigations by several states, Lilly is negotiating with federal prosecutors in Pennsylvania on a deal that could result in the company’s paying $1 billion to $2 billion in fines and restitution, according to people involved in the investigation. The prosecutors declined to comment on Friday.

Monday, March 10, 2008

$10,000 Per Bullet

A man was awarded $1.3 million after a jury determined Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies used excessive force when they fired 120 shots at him following a low-speed chase. Sixty-six shots hit the man's vehicle.

Winston Hayes, 46, suffered nine bullet wounds when deputies fired 120 shots at him at the end of a low-speed pursuit on May 9, 2005. More than half the bullets hit Hayes' vehicle.

"Justice was done," Hayes said after the verdict.

"We do hope this verdict acts as a catalyst for building relationships between the Sheriff's Department and the community it serves," said Brian Dunn, Hayes' attorney.

Lawyers for the county declined comment.

After 10 days of deliberations, the jury determined Friday that Los Angeles Sheriff's Department deputies Michael Haggerty and Vergilian Bolde used excessive force. Nine of the 12 jurors voted for the award, the minimum required in a civil case.

Deputies testified that they believed Hayes had attempted to run them down, and all said they only fired to save their own life or that of a fellow deputy. One deputy was caught in the crossfire but was only slightly wounded.

Thirteen deputies involved in the shooting received disciplinary actions ranging from written reprimands to 15-day suspensions.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

California Same-Sex Marriage Fight Shifts to State Supreme Court

SAN FRANCISCO -- The national gay marriage debate shifted to California on Tuesday, as the state's highest court heard more than 3-1/2 hours of arguments on the constitutionality of a voter-approved law banning same-sex marriage.

Gay rights advocates sued to overturn the ban four years ago after the court halted a months-long same-sex wedding spree that saw thousands of couples marry at San Francisco City Hall.

"I think I speak for everybody when I say that this has been a long time coming and a day that has been eagerly an ticipated," said City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who is representing the city in a lawsuit supporting gay marriage.

The court heard arguments in six cases that were filed after the court stopped the same-sex marriages in the winter of 2004. More than 4,000 couples exchanged vows at the direction of Mayor Gavin Newsom months before gay marriage became legal in Massachusetts, although the high court ultimately voided the unions.

The seven justices asked whether California already protects the civil rights of gay and lesbian couples through domestic partnerships. They also wanted to know if a ruling 60 years ago legalizing
interra cial marriages in the state gave them a precedent for striking down the same-sex marriage ban.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

ESL and the Immigration Lawyer

With the recent interest in the immigration issue in the United States, many law students are considering a career in Immigration Law.

Law schools, such as New York University, are compiling lists of immigration law resources to assist their students in this growing field. Job sites such as and include immigration law jobs in the databases.

However, one area in which immigration lawyers need to be more proactive is assisting their clients with learning English as a second language, or ESL.

Fortunately, there is ESL software available to assist non-English speakers to learn to read and write the language correctly.

The software developed by experts is designed to supplement the ESL student's study and gives them the opportunity to learn correct English grammar as they complete their lessons. The software is web-based and is continually updated giving the student the most current information.

Also available are writing models, templates and related articles to assist the ESL student in completing a variety writing tasks that have immediate real-world application, such as letters of job application, business e-mails, college papers and more.

Immigration lawyers and their staff should check out available ESL software to assist their clients into easier transition into English-speaking society.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Just What is This Requirements Management Thing?

OK, this has nothing to do with law or the legal profession, at least not overtly so, but I learned a new term this week - requirements management - and just had to write about it.

A little background.

Several of us meet after work every couple of weeks or so for a few drinks and dinner, and last week Barry (don't-use-my-real-name) Boston brought along a new face to join the group. The newbie, whose name escapes me (hate when that happens) so I'll just call him Johnny for now, is a project manager for the product development division, and to make him feel more comfortable we all started peppering him with questions about his work.

Someone asked him what the toughest part of his job was and he told us that until two months ago it was requirements management. Say what?

Seems that whenever someone comes up with a new project there have specific things they want the product to accomplish, or requirements. Now it was making sense.

A big part of Johnny's job is keeping track of the project and making sure it is progressing and requirements are are on track. He was using a spreadsheet to keep track of everything, but it was a cumbersome process. He had to enter everything himself and it was eating up all his time, so he started looking around for a tool that could free up his time by streamlining the process and give responsibility to the designers and engineers.

What he found was on-demand requirements management software - now there's a mouthful. The on-demand part means that it is web-based, so it can be accessed by anyone working on the project from any computer. And since several of the designers liked to take work home with them, Johnny thought this was perfect.

The software is fully customizable so if the client wanted to add a requirement it was easy and everyone could instantly know about the addition. Tracking of all requirements was a breeze, he said, as was the prioritization.

In fact, using the Accompa software saved so much time he had just received a pretty good-sized bonus and picked up the tab for all of us.

Not only did we learn something new, we also got a free meal! Not a bad deal, hun?

We're hoping Johnny comes back next time, and I promised to remember his name.