LORD'S JUSTICE: One Judge's Battle to Expose the Deadly Dalkon Shield IUD by Sheldon and Robert Wagman Engelmayer

LORD'S JUSTICE: One Judge's Battle to Expose the Deadly Dalkon Shield IUD

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Another look at the Dalkon Shield IUD drama, this time a ""docudrama"" based on the thousands of documents and many courtroom confrontations that emerged in the battle between women injured by the Dalkon Shield and the besieged A.H. Robins Company. Reporters Engelmayer and Wagman have anchored their book around their own judicial Clint Eastwood, Chief Judge Miles Lord of the Federal District Court of Minnesota, who dispensed a kind of frontier justice to move along the Dalkon Shield cases before him, with dramatic results: record settlements, the discovery of previously undisclosed (but damning) documents still in the possession of Robins, and consideration of disciplinary action against the judge himself at the instigation of the Robins Company. Judge Lord's justice involved an active role in the deposition process (oral testimony taken in advance of trial) and, when settlement of the cases before him was reached, a public plea to the officers of Robins to accept responsibility for the injuries caused by the Dalkon Shield (something the company has not done to this day) and to issue a public recall of the devices still in use. (It was this last action that resulted in Robins filing a complaint against him, a move which the authors see as an attempt by Robins to intimidate other federal judges with Dalkon Shield cases pending before them.) Many of Judge Lord's actions did indeed speed the litigation (delay appears to have been a major defense tactic) and help the plaintiffs. For example, he refused to permit Robins' attorneys to ask them the so-called ""Dirty Questions"" about personal hygiene and sexual history which had no demonstrable relevance but served to embarrass many plaintiffs and to discourage other women from becoming plaintiffs. And the authors do a good job of fitting his actions in to the legal perspective of nationwide litigation and the medical and corporate history of the Shield which led to it. The book necessarily omits much of the FDA politicking which contributed to the delay in regulatory action against the Shield (and of course the post-Lord revelations of ex-Robins attorney Roger Turtle) which are covered in Perry and Dawson's Nightmare (see below). Lord's Justice is full of crisp dialogue and judicial shoot-outs, even if they sometimes make Judge Lord seem a little larger than life, and the authors a bit naive about both corporate and judical realities. The story is a natural, though--good guys, bad guys and showdowns, and Englemayer and Wagman have done well with it.

Pub Date: Sept. 6th, 1985
Publisher: Doubleday