Articles Tagged with witness tampering

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Sadly, I’ve written about allegations of witness-tampering before. It is an awful and unethical thing, and it undermines the ability of a litigant to get a fair trial. Beyond that, it calls into question the legitimacy of our entire legal system.

Testifying under oath in Xarelto trialWitness-tampering is an attempt by one side in a trial to influence or change the testimony of an opponent’s witness. Most of us have seen dramatizations of witness-tampering in movies and on television. Maybe the most famous cinematic depiction of witness-tampering was in Godfather, Part II, when Frank Pentangeli changed his sworn testimony in a Senate Hearing investigating Godfather Michael Corleone’s corruption and murder. Prior to Pentangeli’s testimony, Corleone flies in Pentangeli’s beloved brother from Sicily, an unmistakable message to Pentangeli that Corleone can reach anyone in Pentangeli’s family, and that no one is safe. Once the hearing begins, Frank Pentangeli changes his testimony, and he testifies that he knows nothing about the mafia or Michael Corleone, and that he gave a prior sworn statement under extreme pressure from investigators. It is a dramatic moment in the film, and the witness-tampering allows Michael Corleone to avoid findings of corruption and murder and a likely criminal conviction. You can check out that famous “witness-tampering” scene here.

In the world of product liability cases, allegations of witness-tampering are much less dramatic, but witness-tampering any case can have devastating effects. If a key witness changes his or her testimony, the case can be lost for the litigant who relied on the original evidence.

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Fourth Depuy Pinnacle Hip Bellwether Trial in Dallas Texas
By all accounts, each of the three bellwether trials in the DePuy Pinnacle artificial hip MDL has been contentious. In the fourth bellwether trial, which should wrap up this week, the litigants have been in a fierce battle again. The most recent skirmish has centered on allegations by plaintiffs suggesting that lawyers for DePuy Orthopaedics may have been trying to influence the testimony of a witness for the plaintiffs.

I want to share with you the affidavit submitted by Dr. David Shein, a surgeon who treated three of the six plaintiffs involved in the current trial. Dr. Shein was once expected to be called as a fact witness in the case by the plaintiffs.

Affidavit of David Shein, M.D.