A Letter to Julia

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Chapter 16

The Pressure Becomes Unbearable

January 2, 1013:Mary, Helen and I are back at the flower shop working.Our brief Christmas and New Year’s holiday away from the shop was too fleeting.We haven’t had any bites on sharing our flower shop and Judge Davis hasn’t made a decision yet.Is the whole legal system just trying to break us down so Mary will settle?The waiting is wearing on us.Several of the other plaintiffs want to call it quits.Mary and her co-plaintiffs are all still emotionally fragile and this waiting isn’t helping.I feel like we have been bombarded on all sides by problems, but all of them are made worse or were caused by the train wreck Mirapex made in our lives.The glue that keeps me together is the strong love and bonds in our family.

Helen and I continue to suffer from health problems that could be fixed if our finances had not been eviscerated by Mirapex.Helen’s sight continues to deteriorate from cataracts.She now cannot go on flower deliveries by herself as she cannot read street signs or addresses from the delivery truck.My infected broken tooth has settled down into a consistent pattern.If I don’t chew on the right side of my mouth I can almost forget it’s a problem----but---one bite on that side and---wow-----it’s there all right.I’m conducting my own research project to see how “hunter gatherers” got by without dentists.I use it to remind me (with every throbbing pain) that I have to hold fast in our dealings with the lawsuit and not give in to threats and intimidation.

January 11, 2013: Our waiting is over.Judge Davis has issued his decision and just filed it with the court.Judge Davis conducted a “de novo” review, which is considering the original motion as if the court was considering it for the first time.This standard is used to consider questions of applications of existing laws.His decision was in two parts.Part A found that there was a written contract formed between Mary’s lawyer H. Lee Thompson and the defendants. In Part B Judge Davis found that in order to force the five plaintiffs (Mary included) to accept the settlement agreements apparent authority must be based on action or non-action by a client, not just the attorney. In other words even though Thompson gave the defendants the impression that he had the full authority to settle their cases, it apparently also matters if the plaintiffs had given Thompson either actual or apparent authority to make binding settlement offers in the amounts listed in his emails.

Mary had immediately responded to Thompson when she was confronted with a settlement amount that she had never authorized.I feel that her affidavit already filed which a copy is in chapter 14 should be sufficient to win in the hearing.After all the defendants will not be able to produce any record of Mary authorizing Lee to demand as a final settlement the $xxxxx he put forward.There seems to be a distinction made between authority Mary gave Lee to negotiate on her behalf and authority to put forward an offer without her permission.Mary never gave Lee the authority to negotiate a specific offer on his own unless she specifically gave him permission to do so.It seem we are on firm legal ground, but I’ve learned that there are so many exceptions to the law and seemingly conflicting legal rulings that anything is possible.One thing that I do know, that the defendants being devoid of all traces of humanity will take every legal opportunity to beat us up and smiling while doing it.Too bad there isn’t a law against being total “----holes”.

January 23, 2013:Now the Magistrate Judge Noel has filed his own order into the court records.He has ordered that the court will hold an evidentiary hearing on March 13, 2013 to address the questions identified in the previous ruling by Judge Davis.Both the plaintiffs and the defendants have to notify each other who they intend to call as witnesses and to disclose to each other and the court any exhibits they intend to offer as evidence by March 4th.

Mary’s affidavit that is already in evidence should be adequate without having her appear as a witness in person, but this whole hearing still makes me nervous.I have to fight my emotions back down and try to think clearly.Mary and Joe cannot afford to travel back to Minneapolis again.When I feel my emotions getting out of control I go and watch our newest grandchild Georgia peacefully sleeping.It calms me down and it helps me understand that life will go on in spite of our current troubles.

January 29, 2013:Well it happened! Why couldn’t we receive good news instead of all this bad?Thompson just sent Mary a letter stating that if her case was not settled before the court hearing she and her husband would have to be present as they would be called as witnesses by him.However the defendants (out of the goodness of their hearts) would maybe consider accepting an offer $10, 000 to $15,000 higher if only to do her the favor of forgoing the hearing.We bless their little black hearts.

February 5, 2013: I’m succumbing to hatred and cynicism.I can’t afford to do that.This will only get me temporary satisfaction and really accomplish nothing.I’m in constant email contact with the other four plaintiffs and they are all pretty much alternate between anger and despair as Mary does.Either they cannot financially or emotionally make the trip.The Court, and the lawyers on both sides are increasing the pressure to settle.It’s perfectly clear now that they all want these cases to settle before costs to them increase.I have to focus.I need to see Georgia.

I don’t know what is going on and I do not like being is that situation.I’m beginning to think that Lee is coming under his own financial pressure to get these lawsuits settled as best he can.He told me before that he has other clients other than Mirapex ones and he has to also spend time on their cases.I don’t know if he was surprised by the stonewalling treatment and beating up his Mirapex clients got at the first settlement conferences.At any rate, these lawsuits are costing him money in time he might not recover.

February 1, 2013:We have been advertising in Craig’s List and spreading the word in Enumclaw that we needed another business to locate in the front of our shop to share in the overhead expenses (rent, lights, internet, etc.).Across the street from us is an antique business with spaces for independent vendors.Their lease is up on May 1st.The owner of the shop also needs to cut down on her overhead and has been trying to negotiate a better deal on her lease.We just found out that her landlord is not interested, so one of her vendors now will move into the front of our shop and run her own business there.The original owner of the antique business will now just have a space in the new store.Their store will be called “The Vintage Garden” in deference to the combination of antiques and flowers.This is the break we have been hoping for.Now the hard work starts as we have to keep the shop running while moving counters, cabinets, point of sales systems, ribbons and all the gift items left over from holidays and everyday gift items as well.

Sara will be going back to work in March and we will be babysitting our granddaughter at the flower shop.I need to have a space ready to put a crib (I’ll be updating the crib all our children used as well as my brother and I).I also have to make her crib space safe and quiet as well as earthquake proof.Sara’s aunt has loaned us a playpen I can locate behind the new location for our register and counter.I have so much to do with too little time and too much responsibility.

February 13, 2013: I’m in constant email with the remaining four other plaintiffs that are fighting to not be required to accept the settlements that they never agreed to.They are coming under intense pressure from the defendants (the lawyers for the pharmaceuticals) to settle before the hearing set for the 13th of March.They are scaring them with the thought of testifying and having to endure cross examination from hostile lawyers.

Mary is also feeling the pressure.When she has to deal with a hostile email Mary withdraws into despair and depression.I have to read them and craft a response.Mary eventually can clear what I’ve done before it is sent and she makes changes, but it is hard for her.Some of the other four plaintiffs in the hearing are reaching their breaking points and will probably settle for anything to get the pressure over.Mary could reach that point too, but I’m afraid for her.I’m afraid that eventually Mary will really regret her decision to cave and that will be the feeling she carries for the rest of her life.But, can I hold up?

When I deliver flowers I take that opportunity to rant and rave out loud in the delivery truck at the circumstances that brought us to this point and to develop my strategy in combating the defendant’s lawyers.I can’t lay this burden on Mary or my wife Helen.Sometimes I think that all that is keeping me sane are these opportunities to let my anger simply go. My children would be ashamed to hear what comes out of my mouth.

March 13 2013:Today is Sara’s first day back at work.I have both the crib area and the playpen area all ready for little Georgia.I don’t know how Sara has the fortitude to leave her little one and go back to work.I don’t know if I could do it, but thankfully we can watch her here at work.I have trouble with all the new moms having to return to work by necessity and with no daycare provided as is the norm in other developed countries.These thoughts just add to my general misery over Mirapex and how this lawsuit is all turning out.I’m now working seven days a week to make the shop transition.I haven’t had a vacation in 5 years and all my days away from the flowers shop are devoted to Mirapex problems or catch-up work at home.Some days I can hardly get out of bed, but to quit now would be to throw away everything that we have strived and worked hard for.

March 14, 2013:Today is the scheduled date for the hearing to decide if Mary and the four others will be held to the settlements they did not agree to, but evidently the hearing has been postponed to a future date as yet to be determined.We gather from emailing with the other four that somehow the judge (Judge Noel) has gotten signals from the defendant’s lawyers and also from Lee that progress has been made in reaching settlements.If everyone settles then there will be no need for the hearing.However, all this talk of reaching settlements is news to us as Mary has not budged from her first offer of $xxxxxx and doesn’t intend to until the defendants come back with a counter offer that reflects her offer.So far this has not happened.Who is feeding all this crap to the Judge?

March 28, 2013:Mary just received an email from Lee giving the new date for the hearing.It is now scheduled for April 30th.Here is the email:

As you know, there is an evidentiary hearing scheduled for April 30th in Minneapolis, MN. You are expected to attend that hearing if your cases do not settle before then. If you are unable to attend this hearing, you must inform me in writing no later than Tuesday, April 2nd at 12:00 p.m. If you have a medical excuse for traveling, you must provide me with a doctor’s note. The sooner I am able to notify the court, the better for your case. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I have carefully studied all the decisions from both the District Judge Davis and from Magistrate Judge Noel.I strongly feel that there is no evidence that Mary ever gave Lee the authority to offer a number of $xxxxx for a full and final settlement because she never did give that authority.In addition, Mary immediately repudiated that supposed offer in an email the day she discovered the offer.So, no implied intent is possible either.We have neither the money nor the time to spend going back to the hearing.Helen and I have already depleted the air miles we had saved up over a lifetime of building houses; air miles that we had intended to use for travel after I retired.I recommended to Mary that she not plan to go back as the affidavit she has already sent to Lee should be sufficient to counter the claims of the defendants.I feel that the threat of having to attend is just a ploy to get her to settle before the hearing and for an amount she does not want to accept.

Since the first of the year I’ve begin to feel that that the chances of getting a just settlement out of the legal process was slipping away from us.I decided to make another video to post on YouTube that would use the wording and sentiments in the Preface to this book.I composed original music for the video which I play in the background while I will speak to Mary’s daughter Julia.In between the two parts where I speak to Julia there is an interlude where “Mary” sings to Julia.I plan to have my daughter-in-law Sara sing that part.I have to keep Mary, her husband Joe and Julia completely isolated from this story or my videos.My son Adam has agreed to put all the pieces together and produce it.Maybe this will draw attention to the potential dangers of Mirapex and keep others from going through what we did.

April 1, 2013:The video is finished and ready to post.The URL is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3H_mkhiVxs.I hope that this will do some good, but I don’t know any more if we have any hope of anything helping us or others out.I’m discouraged, but still fighting.

I just received an email from another victim.It’s another response to my original video that I put on YouTube asking for help in tabulating Mirapex compulsions.Her husband has been on Mirapex for 20 years while he and her have suffered through a series of devastating compulsions; compulsion that were incorrectly diagnosed and consequently mistreated to no effect.We are in correspondence and I offered to her the same offer that I’ve made to other victims: that I would be willing to include a chapter in this book describing (in their own words) the experiences of other Mirapex victims.Unfortunately other victims have either settled their claims and now are gagged from speaking out, or cannot face the shame and trauma (their words) of writing their story.I can fully understand how they feel as this is how the defendants keep the story of how Mirapex can ruin people’s lives from getting widely known

You might be surprised that her husband could go for 20 years without his doctors discovering the reason for his compulsions was Mirapex.I’m not.This is the one thread that is the same among all the sad stories that I have heard; that Mirapex is never suspected by patient or doctor until the emotional and financial damage is irreparable.She is beginning to wean her husband off of Mirapex.

April 10th, 2013:Lee has just emailed Mary a letter that he received from the defendant’s lawyer.It has me furious.I am beside myself and it is all I can do to control my anger and try to think straight.I want to get on a plane paying with money I don’t have, go back to New York, find the law firm that sent such a nasty and insulting letter and shove it down their throats.But, while it would make me feel good, it would not advance our cause and would set us back.I have to consider the long game, but now I find I constantly lust for instant revenge. I must keep my head and think this out.Here is their letter:

This will confirm our prior telephone conversation regarding efforts to further

resolve the claim of Ms. Magalhaes. Defendants have offered $xxxxx for a full and final settlement of the claim. If this amount is not accepted then the defendants will continue to seek enforcement of the original settlement of $xxxxx. As noted if Ms. Magalhaes chooses to refuse any further reasonable negotiations and continues to oppose enforcement of the previously agreed settlement, she is required to appear for hearing in Minnesota before Magistrate Noel. While defendants would have been willing to consider some further modification of their offer, your client’s continued demands in the multiple six figures is unreasonable, unacceptable and unproductive.

If the demand continues to remain at or near the levels previously communicated, it will be clear that your client has no intent to resolve this claim Unless there is a substantial reduction in the demand to an amount well below $100,000.00, the defendants will continue to seek enforcement of the original settlement of $xxxxx and will expect Ms. Magalhaes to appear in person in Minnesota as specifically and expressly required by Judge Noel. We expect that the merits will result in sustaining the previously agreed to settlement of $xxxxx. Further if Ms. Magalhaes does not appear for any hearing that will only strengthen the defendant’s position in obtaining enforcement of the previous settlement.

Once I settled down and with the help of my son-in law Mark, Mary sent this reply:

Dear H. Lee Thompson,
This is in response to the letter from Mr. Liederman of 10 April 2013.

The offer that the defendants refer to as “the original settlement of $xxxxx” is the subject of a motion brought by the defendants that is currently under appeal, and based on the recent ruling of Judge Davis I am fully confident that we will prevail in that appeal, i.e., it will be ruled that no settlement was reached. Therefore I consider the $xxxxx amount as an offer, not a settlement.

Furthermore, I continue to live in a half completed shabby house in which we are forced to all share one bedroom.I have lost my lucrative business.I was forced to undergo bankruptcy.Our truck was repossessed.I am still suffering from the aftereffects of the Mirapex caused seizures.I completely lost three years of my daughter’s life.She underwent a year of counseling.I am heavily in debt to my aging parents who now have to continue to work to make ends meet.I am still constantly fighting depression and anxiety for how the side effects from Mirapex financially and emotionally devastated our family.Including losing the years my husband and I planned to have our second child which has deeply affected my husband.

Therefore, we accept neither the $xxxxx nor the more recent $xxxxx offer, and we will not, as the defendants demand, return a counter-offer of an “amount well below $100,000.00”.I find the defendant’s offer of $xxxxx, of which a substantial portion will go to lawyer fees and other legal expenses, to be demeaning, patronizing and insulting.

Regarding the upcoming hearing in Minnesota, we believe that evidence currently in the Magistrate’s hands, including my affidavit of 21 February 2013, are more than sufficient to prove that the criteria outlined by Judge Davis for a valid contract were never met. In addition, it is an extreme hardship for me to appear in Minnesota due to my current financial and employment condition. Therefore, from our perspective, my appearance at the hearing is both unnecessary and extremely difficult, and I do not intend to make the trip. If defendants wish to subpoena me to appear, I will of course comply.
Best regards,
Mary Magalhaes

April 16, 2013: Mary’s lawyer Lee is continuing to give reasons for settling before the hearing. He fears that the defendants would use her history of Lupus to suggest that her reaction to Mirapex was simply manifestations of Lupus. These unfounded charges would be difficult to hear, but Lee and the defendants are underestimating Mary inner strength.Lee might have Mary’s best interests at heart and his advice is clearly that Mary settles before the hearing.He wants to spare her the trauma of testifying, but he does not understand that Mary is supported by her parents and extended family in any decision she makes.If she wants to face the hearing we will do all that is possible to make that happen. We feel there is no rush to settle before the hearing on April 30th and the ruling from Judge Noel that would come later.The worst that can happen is that Mary is forced to take the $xxxxx offer. At best the lawsuit will continue its tortuous path to resolution.

April, 2013: Mary emailed this reply to Lee.

Hi Lee--- Thanks for your concern about my medical history. I appreciate the effort you are making in my behalf. During the pre-Mirapex period I graduated from college with honors, was running my successful business, and planning the remodel of my house, and taking care of my daughter. There is no mention of “compulsive behavior” in the medical records prior to me taking Mirapex. I know that the defendants are trying to intimidate me with the threat of dragging out all my past health problems, but I don’t personally find that a problem. Their sophomoric attempts to switch the blame to me for not settling and for my behavior on Mirapex won’t work. It is clearly documented that all my “destructive” behaviors started and stopped with Mirapex.
Sincerely,
Mary D. Magalhaes

April 26, 2013:Mary has received no subpoenas from anyone to attend the hearing.It seems that she can attend by telephone.This is good news as we cannot afford to travel to Minneapolis.Lee has called Mary and he gave her a phone number to call so she can be included in the hearing set for April 30.

April 30, 2013:This morning Mary is continuing calling the number he gave her, but the person she is reaching cannot seem to connect her into the hearing.It is afternoon now and Mary has given up as it is two hours later in Minnesota and the hearing should be wrapped up by now.We don’t know what happened.

May 2, 2013:Mary has just heard from one of the other plaintiffs that actually attended the hearing through a video hookup at his local Federal Courthouse.He was called by the pharmaceuticals’ lawyers as a witness.This was a surprise.I wonder why he was called by them.Mary just learned that he and Mary are the only ones left as all the others gave into the pressure and settled and now are forever silenced. I don’t blame them as we also desperately want this nightmare to be over and we understand that each victim and their families have their own circumstances to consider.He is going to call me tomorrow as I really want to hear firsthand what happened at the hearing.

May 3, 2013:Mary has just gotten an email from Lee containing an order from Judge Noel.Mary has to attend another hearing scheduled for May 28th.The hearing is in the Federal Courthouse in Minneapolis.If the Seattle Federal Courthouse has the capability of setting up a video conference from one of their courtrooms then Mary can testify from Seattle.If not then she will have to appear in Minneapolis or automatically be forced to take the $xxxxx settlement offer.Mary will have to determine if that is possible, or what will we do?

There is good news in the email, however.The defendants evidently asked the judge to have Mary’s affidavit struck from the evidence since she was not at the last hearing on April 30th.This is the affidavit where Mary testifies that she never gave her lawyer the permission to put forward the final demand of $xxxxx.In addition, the affidavit contained the email Mary sent Lee as soon as she realized the offer was put forward to the defendants.Thankfully the judge denied that request.

May 4, 2013:Now, everything is clear and nothing is clear. I know what to think and cannot think.I just got off of the phone with the other plaintiff that actually attended the hearing held on the 30th of April by remote video connection.He told me something that came out in the hearing that has totally shocked me and I’m not sure I can even write about it.Apparently the defendants lawyers (representing the two pharmaceuticals) have been working together to settle the claims within a budget that the defendant’s lawyers had sent to Lee----and-----if that isn’t bad enough they includedan additional $200,000 for Lee to use at his discretion up front.The other plaintiff told me that these facts are in the exhibits that were entered into evidence at the hearing.I can’t finish this now. I have to get a copy of the exhibits and study them.He must be mistaken.

May 7, 2013:The shock still hasn’t worn off, but I’ve seen the publically available exhibits and the other plaintiff was dead right. Lee had eighteen clients, with lawsuits filed against the pharmaceuticals, that hadn’t settled as of January 2012.The defendants budgeted $800,000 to settle those claims allocated by them among the 18 according to their assessment of the merits of the individual claims.They gave Lee a “smoothing bucket” (their term) of $200,000.The total of the settlement plus the “smoothing bucket” is slightly over $1,000,000.The defendants’ lawyers also wrote Lee that “We have no objection if you reserve a certain sum out of that figure and have us represent it is payment of certain expenses.”

Everything that has happened now makes sense in some twisted perverted way. This is what I think happened.From publically available court records I know that other lawyers filing Mirapex lawsuits also had multiple clients; more clients than they could possibly give individual attention to unless they were part of large firms that had the manpower to do so.In addition, these lawyers could not possibly have the financial resources to go to trial----and----possibly lose.These were lawyers, like Lee, that advertised for people that had suffered side effects from Mirapex.

These lawyers know their limitations.We contacted over forty law firms and they all turned us down.Some of the firms had looked extensively at Mary’s case.What I took away from their answers was that unless Mary was extremely damage (disabled or outright killed) they could not justify risking a lawsuit. We are grateful that Lee would take Mary’s case in the face of these problems.We realized that the movie myth of lawyers taking expensive cases for free just for the sake of something called “justice” is just that; a myth.

After stonewalling the plaintiffs and their lawyers, the lawyers for the pharmaceuticals then offer a way for the plaintiffs’ lawyers to get something for their time out of all their lawsuits without going to trial.They do this by putting forward a “financial schedule” for settling all the lawsuits that include a sum called a “smoothing bucket” as an extra incentive. I don’t know for sure but I suppose that the lawyers can keep the “smoothing bucket” for “expenses” if they do not use it for additional payments to their plaintiffs.

That is my hypothesis of how the pharmaceuticals have set up the system to their benefit.A system in which the defendants are satisfied at the small amounts per case they have to pay, a system in which the plaintiffs’ lawyers get some enumeration for their work on each case, a system in which the court is satisfied at not having the expense of hosting a trial, but a system in which the actual victim that suffered the damages is left out. We are grateful that Lee did take Mary’s case and he is now going the extra mile to keep her lawsuit alive, even against his advice to Mary.

I am too disgusted to write any more right now and it is very possible that no one will read this account anyway.They will try to beat us down until my daughter settles for pennies on the dollar and is forever gagged like the other plaintiffs.I’m sure now that victims of the side effects from other drugs are handled in the same fashion.I see lawyers advertising on TV for such cases all the time.I’m sick with dread.I’m beginning to also see these lawyers as “victims” of the pharmaceuticals.

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