The Roller Coaster Continues
January 20, 2014: I’m writing this chapter today, but I will use my notes and Helen’s Journal to recapture the events leading up to today.I wanted to write the events as they happened, but I’ve been too tired running and closing out the flower shop, watching our granddaughter Georgia and fighting the defendants---and----trying to have normal holiday activities.
I honestly thought by now the Mirapex litigation story would have ended and we would be trying to move on with whatever lives we have left.I don’t think I could have gone on if I would have known that today I would be still writing this story.Three large trains traveling at high speed converged at Christmas.They were the Christmas holidays, Mirapex continuing troubles and the closing and moving of the flower shop.But, I’m getting ahead of myself.I’ll start back in November.
November 27, 2013:Mary has just sent of an email to Lee Thompson wishing him a happy Thanksgiving and asking if he knew when the Judge would act on the letter from the defendants.Lee replied “Not as far as we know. Happy Thanksgiving.”We did have a Happy Thanksgiving.Our house was full, as usual for holidays, with family and friends.Georgia has been fully accepted into the extended “Locatelli tribe”.She is not too far from taking her first steps, but seeing that “little butt” disappearing around corners as she explores the house always lifts my spirits.Mirapex has been the cause of numerous family breakups for other victims.Why our family has endured I credit to the family projects we worked together on.Every spike we put together into logs, every wire we pulled together, and every field trip we shared----one by one created the bonds that now hold us together.
I did cook two turkeys this Thanksgiving; one for Mary and one for everyone else.I scoured the Net for non-gluten stuffing.I finally settled on using the recipe from Helen’s mother that we traditionally use, but adding apples and rice instead of bread cubes.Thankfully it turned out really good.I had to work harder at making the gravy out of cornstarch instead of flower, but after several false starts I manage to do it.Eventually I will be able to make gravy for Mary as well as what I’m used to.Mary has now been on a gluten-free diet for several months and is healthier than since she was a teenager.She has slimmed down and looks great and feels the same.
We are still hoping to sell the flower shop.We have no illusions of getting the $40,000 back we paid for it.The economy still hasn’t picked up in Enumclaw and now every store sells fresh flowers.The sales of fresh flowers has greatly increased, but not for florists.I have to remind myself that working at the flower shop rehabilitated Mary.It did its job.We have had some inquiries from local people thinking about taking over the shop, but, like a lot of people, they are “more in love” with the idea than the reality.
December 10, 2013:Mirapex just jumped back into our lives with a jolt.Mary just received a copy of an email her lawyer Lee Thompson sent to the defendant’s lawyer, a Mr. Smith.
“SETTLEMENT PAYMENT DUE TO MARY D MAGALHAES
Dear Mr. Smith,
I was advised today by Chief Judge Davis’ court room deputy clerk, Christine Wegner, that she called you and advised that the letter you filed with the Court was not the appropriate manner for the Court to consider enforcement. As you are aware you did not communicate to me the court’s instruction nor did Ms Wegner. You are advised that the release time period has expired and that defendants are in breach of the agreement. Please advise the defendants that this is an immediate demand for full and final payment to be wired to my trust account.”
This really helps to clear away the dismal December day at the flower shop.We are excited.Something must have happened between the Judge and the lawyers for the defendants.What it was, we don’t know.We are fantasizing that Judge Davis was so mad at the gall of the defendants that he threw them out of court!Can people still be boiled in oil?
A few more emails today from Thompson have cleared up what happened.Apparently, back in November Judge Davis informed the defendants that he wouldn’t accept the letter from them detailing the order forcing Mary to sign the full release form.But, in a giant breach of court etiquette neither the court nor the defendants informed Thompson.Thompson was not too happy with being kept in the dark and all this time of anxious waiting for us was unnecessary.Judge Davis also advised the defendants to file a motion if they wanted to properly pursue this “new line of attack [my words]”.As of today no motion had been filed so Thompson felt confident in calling them out for not complying with the Judge’s order and demanding they immediately pay the settlement amount.Maybe our luck is changing?
December 11, 2013: We actually have something to really be excited about---finally!Since no motion has been filed by the defendants Thompson thinks there is a chance the defendants will want to negotiate a separate deal for Mary to sign the complete release form.He sent this email to the defendants.
“Dear Mr. Liederman,
Last evening I received a telephone call from Chief Judge Davis’s deputy courtroom clerk indicating that she had an ex parte telephone conversation with Attorney Smith indicating that the court would not consider the request for enforcement of the settlement in the case of Mary Magalhaes.
Mr. Smith failed to communicate the court’s position as to the inappropriateness of his written communication to the court. I sent an email demand for our payment for the settlement amount. Obviously it is my opinion that the issue of confidentiality is not a part of the required payment by the defendants. This is a formal demand for wire transfer so that my clients can be paid in accordance with Chief Judge Davis’s order. Also, I call your attention to page 12, VI General Provisions A through M.
However, if your client or defendants are interested in a confidentiality agreement for my clients, please advise of your authority to negotiate a separate premium payment for a separate confidentiality agreement. You have three (3) days in which to respond to this offer to negotiate the confidentiality agreement.
- H. Lee Thompson”
Thompson must spell “blood in the water”.I hope this means that the defendants committed a major blunder in demanding that the Court force Mary to sign the overly broad release form. It feels good to be on the offensive team for once.
He wants a letter from Mary authorizing him to negotiate with the defendants. With something positive to finally look forward to the day passed quickly.I jumped right into crafting a letter of authorization.Now that we know that Judge Davis will take any letter authorizing Thompson to negotiate to mean “for ever and ever until death do us part” and “for any amount. ” I have to be extremely careful of how it is written.I will include language to the effect that any amount Thompsonnegotiates is not an accepted offer until Mary sends the defendants a written acceptance under her signature.I’ve run my attempt by my son-in-law and fellow scientist Mark.The final draft is pretty air tight.I can final go to bed looking forward to the next day.Even Mary is excited.
December 13, 2014: ”Magalhaes v. BIPI, et al., Court File: 11-cv-412 (MJD/FLN)”That’s the formal indication of another crushed hope for us.I guess it was too good to be true. Our euphoria lasted three days.The defendants have now filed a motion to have the Court force Mary to sign the complete release form.I guess they won’t give up until they completely crush us (nice people). Lee has to formally respond.A court hearing is set for early January.Lee is pretty upset.Now he has to spend additional time he will not get adequately paid for. We are really upset.
In their motion the defendants are accusing Mary of posting anti-Mirapex videos on YouTube.Are they so stupid that they can’t see that I’m the poster?After all, I’m the one that narrates them.I’m the one who gives my email.They are posted under my YouTube account.Since the defendants are spending resources trolling the Net for what we are posting and doing they might at least take the time to get it right.But---the truth has never been important to the defendants or their lawyers.I don’t know if Mary can hold up under their relentless pressure.I’m also wondering about myself.Mary needs to write an affidavit immediately (Thompson’s wish).We can’t do it.I have to have time to draft it and Mary correct it and it has to be really, really good.The pressure of the flower shop is increasing and Christmas is coming.We can’t start closing out our accounts, Net and phones lines, etc. until we are sure our shop won’t sell.How do we get into these pickles?I’ll have to read the new motion and craft an affidavit.
December 14, 2013: I’ve re-read the defendants’ motion.It is the same as their signature ready “proposed order” I already quoted in this chapter.I’m working with Mary on the affidavit, but everything (shop, Christmas) is getting in the way.When was the last time I felt Christmas got in the way of anything?Never!
December 16, 2013:Mary and I finished the affidavit.Here it is.
“AFFIDAVIT OF MARY D. MAGALHAESPage 1 of 3
I ____________________________________ upon oath state as a resident of the state of Washington and the county of King that I have personal knowledge of the following events.
December 16, 2013
To whom it may concern:
I, Mary D. Magalhaes testify:
That I have given all my testimony in affidavits and in person in good faith and truth and have abided by the Courts ruling forcing me to accept a settlement that I never authorized.
That I have carefully read the “terms of that forced settlement” as clearly set forth by Magistrate Judge Noel.
That I and my husband Joseph R. Magalhaes have signed the release forms that include the specific requirement that the amount of the settlement be kept confidential.
That I will abide by the specific ruling of Judge Noel that the amount of the settlement will remain confidential.
That I have received the details of the division of the settlement funds from my lawyer H. Lee Thompson including his expenses to be charged to the settlement amount.
That there is no disagreement between my attorney H. Lee Thompson and myself regarding the division of the settlement as spuriously claimed by the Defendants, and therefore no disagreement which would embroil the Defendants or delay final settlement.
That I have not discussed the contents of my father John D. Locatelli’s book with him, nor read any part of it, nor contributed to his book in any way.
That I have not contacted anyone about publication of my father’s book, nor have I promoted his book in any way.
That I have not posted a video on You Tube regarding Mirapex as spuriously claimed by the defendants. That if my father John D. Locatelli has posted such a video on You Tube it was not at my directive, and that he did not discuss any You Tube videos with me.
I, Mary D. Magalhaes further testify:
That, while every Mirapex settlement agreement reached in MDL 1836 so far has contained the additional language I redacted from the release, everyone else was free to negotiate settlement amounts and to voluntarily give up their freedom to tell their story.On the other hand the Defendants are asking the Court to force me, under threat, to give up the freedom to tell my story for an amount that I would have never accepted in exchange for my silence if I had been free to choose.
I, Mary D. Magalhaes further testify:
That the side effects of the drug Mirapex manufactured by the Defendants and the settlement forced by the Court on me have ended forever my hopes and dreams of a career as a paralegal, completion of our home, financial well-being, and justice from the Defendants.
That the only possession I have left is the ability and the right to tell my life story to whom I choose.That now, because Mirapex totally changed my life’s story for the worse, Mirapex will now be a major part of my story until I die.
That to take away what happened to my life because of Mirapex would be to effectively and completely take away from me my life story.
That the defendants, not being satisfied with simply ruining my emotional and financial life and that of my family, want to even take away my right to the story of my life.
That my ability to heal emotionally from the devastation of Mirapex absolutely depends on my ability to tell my story to family and friends, and to tell my daughter in the future why she had to live through such trauma in her young life.
That I firmly believe that, given the actions of the Defendants so far, the Defendants would not hesitate to sue me for whatever slim financial resources I have left if I attempt to even tell my daughter or anyone else what happened.
That I would live in fear the rest of my life of such a crippling lawsuit.
That Defendants claim “[my] objections to the confidentiality language contained in the release clearly signal [my] intent to continue arousing public sentiment against Defendants and Mirapex---something the settlement of this lawsuit was intended to foreclose.”
That the Defendants can in no way can clearly know what my intent is in this matter.
That such a punishment from the Court would be unjustified, unnecessary, and exceedingly cruel.”
December 18, 2013:Thompson has filed a response to the defendants’ motion and they will file their own response to his response---and so it goes.I’m too tired of all of this back and forth ad infinitum to discuss all the arguments and counterarguments.I’ll give all this detail when I describe the court hearing.
We have set the day after Christmas as the “drop dead” date to start cleaning up the shop, and so far, there are no real commitments from anyone to buy the shop.If it doesn’t sell we will see if the other flower shop in town would want to buy our phone number and flower account list.We have a number of accounts that we fill every week and then send out invoices at the end of the month.We sure could use any money we can get
December 26:Now the fun begins.No one has bought the shop and we have until Jan 1 to clean up and get out.I came in today at 6 AM to start dismantling the shelves, overhead storage, cupboards, countertops and other storage.
The fight is on!Thompson just fired a shot across their bow.He has also filed his own motion today with the court along with Mary’s affidavit and his response to their motion.Thompson is asking the Court to dismiss their motion on legal technical grounds.Now they have to respond to him and so on.He is disputing their use of a “Summary Judgment Motion”.Either side in a civil lawsuit can file a summary judgment motion prior to a trial.This is a motion to end the lawsuit by either having it dismissed in favor of the defendants or a judgment rendered in favor of the plaintiffs.For this motion to be granted by the presiding judge it has to backed up by indisputable facts that any jury would agree with.In addition, the judge has to interpret the law in favor of the side receiving such a motion to end the lawsuit if at all possible.Unfortunately the Court has not given Mary the benefit of such a ruling in the past. Thompson is then arguing that their motion does not meet the standards of a summary judgment and therefore should be dismissed.
I agree with Thompson.Arguing, as the defendants have, that everyone always signs the complete agreement, that Mary will definitely blab the amount of the settlement if not totally gagged, and that peace will never come to either side without total gagging, seems open to dispute, not beyond dispute.In addition, Judge Davis has now delayed the hearing until February 10, 2014 and gives Judge Noel the task of holding the hearing and writing recommendations to him for final judgment.This is good on one hand as we can finish up with the shop and have a normal Christmas for our family.On the other hand it gives us more time to stew about the outcome.
I was smart enough to use screws and a power screwdriver to put everything together.Taking apart is easier and I can save the wood, cupboards and countertops for future use.Before I get too far into the last days of the flower shop I should mention that we managed again to pull off a wonderful Christmas.We even had Helen’s extended family over for Christmas Eve dinner, twenty three in all. Helen and I are holding up pretty well.But, getting older catches up with people eventually, and Helen and I are just like everyone else in that respect.How ironic it would be to die just when Mirapex might finally be over and Helen and I might get more peace in our lives.We have been fighting the pharmaceuticals now for almost five years.Unfortunately, five years at my age might be a significant part of the rest of my life.
January 4, 2014:This morning I’m about as tired as I’ve ever been.The contents of the flowers shop is now in our basement and underneath the lakeside deck.If another box was put in the basement, the basement would explode in a shower of flower buckets, silk flowers, holiday gifts, candelabras, corsage boxes; all the bits and pieces collected over fifty years.I had worked several 16 hour days dismantling the shop and I Helen and I were doing OK until the flower cooler.We had much needed help from my cousin Kathy, my sister-in-law Mary, Mary’s husband Joe, my son-in-law Mark and daughter Megan.The straw that almost broke the camel’s back was taking apart the flower cooler.We were going to leave it, but our landlord decided at the last moment to want it taken down, and all our helpers were back at their work.It was ten by ten feet square and eight feet tall.Everything was nailed together and it was filled with insulation.Helen and I tried to pry it apart, but even with long pry bars we couldn’t do it.I finally cut it into manageable strips with a Sawzall. It took us seven trips to the dump and two to recycling to dispose of it.I guess that I must be healthier than I thought because I’m still standing, though just barely.
No one bought the flower shop, but we did manage to sell the phone number and house accounts to the other flower shop in town.It wasn’t for much money, but every little bit counts.We are going to keep our business license so we can sell off all the items in the basement, hopefully over the next year.Two people wanted us to continue making arrangements for them so we (Helen) will do that also.
I haven’t had a cold or any other illness for five years.Maybe somehow my body knew that I couldn’t afford to get sick with all the responsibility I had.Lots of people around me did get sick but never caught whatever they had.This was also true the times I built our houses.I never got sick when I was building, even when I was putting in long hard hours.However, it never failed that when I was finished with the long hours of building and could finally take a breather that I would catch some of the worst colds I ever had.Maybe it was the letdown that caused it, or maybe because I pushed extra hard at the end to finish.I’m dreading this happening again, now that the pressure of the shop is over.
January 25: I’m caught up now to the present with my story. Mirapex is always on my mind and it will be a relief when it finally is “old news”.I started wondering if the lawyers for the pharmaceuticals hadn’t gotten themselves into a legal bind with just assuming that Mary would simply sign the total release form including the confidentiality and non-disparagement clauses.I wondered if they had even carefully read the judge’s order that only stipulated the amount of the settlement remain confidential.Then it occurred to me that, since they were asking the court to rule on whether it was necessary to add the other two clauses to ensure the amount of the settlement be kept secret, that this issue had previously never come before the court and wasn’t settle law.
Maybe, just maybe the pharmaceuticals have gotten themselves into a legal bind and trapped themselves into a ruling they don’t want?Maybe, just maybe this future ruling from the court will have major ramifications for all the future settlements to come?The court has only an interest in keeping the amounts confidential so that all other lawsuits and potential trials will be free from prejudice derived from knowing what other plaintiffs were awarded.The pharmaceuticals, for their own selfish reasons, do not want any bad publicity to get out about their drugs, or to have anyone talking badly about them.If the judge rules in Mary’s favor, then future plaintiffs will have leverage to negotiate over the last two clauses for additional settlement money.As it now stands plaintiffs sign the complete release including the last two clauses as they think that it is required by the court.
Maybe, just maybe this obscure hearing and future ruling might be a news story of national interest?Of course, new agencies only report news that will somehow touch a significant portion of the public as they have to act in their interest in these matters.Also, it is possible that if the court (the judges) thought that the hearing and subsequent ruling was being scrutinized by the press, then they might be more cautious on how they conducted themselves so as not to seem to favor the pharmaceuticals.After all, the rulings of the Supreme Court give ample proof that judges are human like the rest of us.
Starting on January 20th I started to email local news agencies about the coming hearing.I also emailed news agencies (papers and TV stations) in Minneapolis as they would be more likely to attend the hearing.In life, events that affect us are like the tip of an iceberg.Is the iceberg only a small piece of ice floating on the surface, or is it going deep into the ocean.After all, one first date can lead to marriage and children while all the other first dates then become only small footnotes in our lives.I received a response from only one newsperson.He was a national award winning investigative producer that had taken an early retirement from national news to work at a local TV station in Minneapolis that has an affiliate station in Seattle.He didn’t know anything about Mirapex and the trouble it can cause in patients’ lives, but he thinks that there might be a story in it.He’s interested in the ruling that will come out of Mary’s hearing and in Mary’s story.This may or may not be the “tip” of a giant iceberg that will change all of our lives.We can only hope.
January 28: Helen and I just back from a flower delivery to Rainier School in Buckley, Washington.I still haven’t gotten a cold.Maybe all the trouble with the pharmaceuticals has made me too mean for cold germs.Mary, since the second week in January, has been a personal assistant to a friend. This is working out really well for Mary.She is working almost every day, but not on the weekends.As her friend’s health improves she will work fewer days and will have to find another source of income.Mary is also doing flowers for an occasional wedding.The recreation room in Mary’s basement is finished and Mary and Joe have moved all their boxes of stored items into it.This frees up the rest of the basement for Joe and I to start on the plumbing.If all goes well they will have a new laundry room and bathroom in the basement.It is a slow job as we have to accommodate all the idiosyncrasies of a small cabin sitting on top of the new basement.Damn you Mirapex!
January 30: We are still getting bills in the mail from the flower wire services that we thought we were free of once we closed out in December. It seems we can’t get away from them.I had hoped that having several flower wire services would make our shop more attractive to a buyer.That didn’t happen.Before computers and the internet flower shops had no easy way to look up the phone number or address of a flower shop in another city.Customers didn’t either, but could come into a flower shop and with the help of a wire service’s list of other flower shops, “wire out” flowers to the other city.The internet made it possible to locate other flower shops without the wire services, but it also made it possible for wire services to advertise and intercept orders that used to be called directly in the flower shop.The 30% of the order value that the wire services charged to send their orders to the flower shops effectively cancelled any net money from those orders.The wire services had as much to do with flower shops closing around the country as did the great recession.
February 8:It is all set up for Mary to attend the hearing on February 10 by telephone.The hearing is in a courtroom in Minneapolis at 9:00 Central Time.That’s 7:00 in the morning our time in Maple Valley, WA.We will use the speaker phone in our bedroom so that Mary, Helen and I can hear everything and Mary can answer questions if she has to.The pharmaceuticals will do everything to crush us.I’m trying not to have anxiety about the coming hearing affect my daily life, but it creeps into everything I do.We’ll just have to see how it goes.Only two days to find out.